Uganda begin journey for home game in Cameroon

Coach Micho has taken his team to Budiope in Buyende district to kickstart preps for the game against Algeria in Cameroon on June 18. PHOTO/JOHN BATANUDDE 

What you need to know:

The Cranes go into the June 18 clash against Algeria level on four points with Tanzania. They must beat the North Africans, and then Niger in September, and hope matches involving Tanzania go Uganda’s way to avoid tiebreaks

Uganda low-key start their preparations for their penultimate qualifying game to the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations in the east of the country on Tuesday.

The predominantly local-based players, part of the 42-man  provisional squad Cranes coach Micho Sredojevic summoned at the weekend, face an Eastern Region select team in Buyende with the Serbian looking to test some new names in his side.

Panning the lens to Afcon 2023, which will be played in January and February of the following year thanks to the confusion brought about by Covid, each of Cranes’ remaining two matches are like time bombs. 

Lose one and you are done. Algeria and Niger, and a little prayer for misfortune in Tanzania’s corresponding games, stand between Uganda and Ivory Coast 2023.

Of the above two games, Algeria is a home encounter, with an away clash against Niger closing the qualification campaign in September. 

Unfortunately for Uganda, that home game against the already qualified Algeria - just like the Cranes home clash against Tanzania that was played in the Egyptian city of Ismailia - will be hosted in Douala, Cameroon.

The decision to play the home match to Cameroon was taken in April after Fufa inspected the Mandela National Stadium, Namboole and confirmed that it was not yet ready to host the June match.

This was after the State Minister for Sports, Peter Ogwang, promised on March 29 that Namboole would be ready to host Algeria. He later apologised.

Tight scuffle 

Uganda go into the June 18 clash against Algeria level on four points with Tanzania.

They must beat the North Africans, and then Niger in September and hope matches between other Group F teams go their way to avoid any tiebreaks.

Algeria are the big boys in this group having won all their first four games, including beating Uganda 2-0 at the very start, to top the pool on 12 points.

As Micho camps with his boys ahead of that trip to Douala, he will be drilling it to them that all they can do is their job, and that is winning.

Cranes 42-man provisional squad to face Algeria

Goalkeepers: Salim Jamal Magoola, Charles Lukwago, Isma Watenga, Alionzi Nafian, Joel Mutakubwa 

Defenders: Gavin Kizito, James Begisa, Ashraf Mandela, Kenneth Ssemakula, Aziz Kayondo, Ibrahim Juma, Umar Lutalo, Derrick Ndahiro, Isa Mubiru, Halid Lwaliwa, Musa Ramathan, Allan Enyou, Rogers Torach, Hillary Mukundane, Gift Fred, Geoffrey Wasswa.

Midfielders: Siraje Sentamu, George Kasonko, Said Mayanja, Bobosi Byaruhanga, Khalid Aucho, Bright Anukani, Moses Waiswa, Allan Okello, Farouk Miya, Milton Karisa, Moses Opondo, Isma Mugulusi, Travis Mutyaba, Joseph Ochaya 

Forwards: Rogers Mato, Rogers Mugisha, Shariph Kimbowa, Emmanuel Okwi, Richard Basangwa, Fahad Bayo, Charles Bbaale

Ivory Coast Afcon 2023 Qs 

June 18

Tanzania vs. Niger

Uganda vs. Algeria

September fixtures

Niger vs. Uganda

Algeria vs. Tanzania

Group F standings              

                 P    W  D   L   GD   Pts

Algeria     4     4     0    0     6     12

Tanzania 4     1     1     2     -2     4

Uganda    4     1     1     2     -2     4

Niger        4     0    2     2     -2     2