Johnny McKinstry and Uganda Cranes start the Cameroonian job far away in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso looking to making three times on the money.
The Northern Irishman, appointed Cranes coach September 30 after the departure of Sebastien Desabre, will be eying his first with Uganda, and what a better way to make it on a Cranes hat-trick!
Remember the last time Uganda made Afcon finals three times on the bounce? Oh you do!
Then, Phillip Omondi inspired the Cranes to the final, where Uganda lost to hosts Ghana some 42 years ago.
It would be jumping the gun to start funny dreams along those lines, but there is no harm in beginning the project.
That project starts tonight, with McKinstry managing his first competitive game as Cranes coach, and Denis Onyango leading his soldiers on.
Hardly a good hunting ground, Burkina Faso, as this is a place Uganda lost at in 2016. But the Cranes, who are accommodated at Ouagadougou’s Palm Beach Hotel, are optimistic.
“Burkina Faso is a very good team and we respect it but if we give our best and play to the coach’s instructions, we know we can get points from there,” said Cranes vice-captain Hassan Wasswa.
It’ll be interesting to see how McKinstry, who carried new boys Allan Okello, Nicholas Kasozi and Fahad Bayo with him, sets out his team.
He said last week that while his style is attacking football, he would not be afraid to tweak things according to the opponent.
Goalkeeper Onyango, Hassan Wasswa, Mrushid Juuko, Joseph Ochaya and Bevis Mugabi are expected to start at the back.
Khalid Aucho and Mike Azira should network with Abdul Lumala, Faruku Miya, Emmanuel Okwi and Patrick Kaddu going forward. With a vast majority of the Cranes team from Afcon finals in Egypt still present, the visitors should be devoid of any miniscule exceses.
Burkina Faso, too, still have the men who make them tick, spiced up with promising rookies.
Charles Kabore of Dynamo Moscow in Russia, Lyon’s Bertrand Traore and Fiorentina midfielder Bryan Dabo are part of the squad.
Evergreen forwards Jonathan Pitroipa and Aristide Bance are also on hand to have a go at Cranes.The team will play a friendly against a local Katakwi side tomorrow before they fly to Ouagadougou for their 2021 Afcon qualifying opener against hosts Burkina Faso.
Cranes PROBABLE XI
Goalkeepers & Captain: Denis Onyango,
Vice-captain: Hassan Wasswa, Murushid Jjuuko, Joseph Ochaya, Bevis Mugabi, Khalid Aucho, Mike Azira, Abdul Lumala, Farouk Miya, Emmanuel Okwi, Patrick Kaddu
Substitutes: Robert Odongkara, Charles Lukwago, Nico Wakiro Wadada, Timothy Awany, Taddeo Lwanga, Isaac Muleme, Denis Awany, Allan Okello, Nicholas Kasozi, Fahad Bayo, Halid Lwaliwa, Allan Kyambadde, Alexis Bbakka
Burkina faso stallions squad
Goalkeepers: Farid Steeve (Majestic, B.Faso) Ben Idriss Traore (AS Sonabel, Burkina Faso), Aboubacar Sawadogo (As Douanes, B.Faso)
Defenders: Issoufou Dayo (RS Berkane, Morocco), Edmond Fayçal Tapsoba (Guimaraes, Portugal), Dylan Ouédraogo (OH Louvain, Belgium), Abas Ouedraogo (Salitas), Soumaïla Ouattara (Rahimo FC), Steeve Yago (Caen, France), Yacouba Coulibaly (Le Havre, France), Issa Kaboré (Mechelen, Belgium)
Midfielders: Adama Guira (Guangzhou R & F, China), Charles Kaboré (D.Moscow, Russia), Bryan Dabo (Fiorentina, Italy), Bertrand Traoré (Lyon, France), Cyrille Bayala (AC Ajaccio, France), Dramane Nikiema (Horoya AC , Guinea), Alain Traore (RS Berkane, Morocco), Zakaria Sanogo (FC Ararat, Armenia)
Forwards: Lassina Traoré (Ajax Amsterdam, Holland), Aristide Bancé (Horoya AC, Guinea), Jonathan Pitroipa (Paris FC, France), Eric Traore (Pyramids, Egypt)