Eritrea in Uganda Cranes pathway to Cecafa glory

Thursday December 19 2019

Cranes’ Halid Lwaliwa and Fahad Bayo in aerial

Cranes’ Halid Lwaliwa and Fahad Bayo in aerial battle for the ball against Tanzania. Photo by Eddie Chicco.  

By ELVIS SENONO

Uganda Cranes will be overwhelming favourites to claim a 15th Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup title when they meet Eritrea in the final of this year’s edition at the StarTimes Stadium this evening.

Besides the staggering amount of titles, which doubles that of Kenya - the deposed champions and nearest challengers, the Cranes go into the game having won all the previous five games at the tournament.

This included a 2-0 win over today’s opponents before wrapping up the group stages with a 4-1 win over Djibouti.

“We know that we won 2-0 in the group stage but we know that tomorrow is a very different game and our opponents will be giving absolutely everything to get a result. We just have to make sure we are at our best because we know Eritrea can cause us problems if we allow them to,” Cranes coach Johnathan McKinstry warned. The Northern Irishman has also been impressed by Cranes’ opponents, who stunned Kenya in a 4-1 semifinal win and have played some brilliant attacking football throughout the tournament.

“Regardless of who wins tomorrow, it is fair to say that the Eritrean performance throughout the tournament has been remarkable. I don’t know if there is an award for the team of the tournament,” added McKinstry.

Despite their easy on the eye passing style, they are unlikely to pose the same physical threat as that of the Tanzanians whose aggressive style unsettled the Cranes before Fahad Bayo broke their resistance late on.

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The burly striker who is now on two goals is expected to provide the same physical threat that was missing when the two sides met earlier in the competition as he aims for the top scorers’ boot. Kenyan Oscar Musa Wamalwa is the leading scorer with three goals to his name thus far. They play Tanzania in the third placed playoff.

Probable starting line-up

Charles Lukwago, Paul Willa, Mustafa Kizza, John Revita, Halid Lwalirwa, Shafik Kagimu, Joachim Ojera, Bright Anukani, Fahad Bayo, Allan Okello, Ben Ochen.

CECAFA SENIOR CHALLENGE CUP

FINAL - TODAY AT STARTIMES STADIUM
Uganda vs. Eritrea 3.45pm
Past three meetings
11/12/19: Eritrea 0-2 Uganda
02/12/13: Eritrea 0-3 Uganda
14/12/07: Eritrea 3-2 Uganda

essenono@ug.nationmedia.com

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