2014 World Cup qualifiers,
Saturday, September 7, 2013
Senegal Vs Uganda – Marrakesh Stadium, Morocco
For the first time in history of Ugandan football, Uganda Cranes have had the best preparations for any away game. On top of having a four day training camp in Istanbul, Turkey, the Cranes played two international friendly games versus Egypt and Botswana all in preparation for crunch Senegal clash.
On Thursday 8pm, the team landed in Marrakesh, Morocco and is accommodated at the luxurious LE Meridien Hotel located at the centre of Marrakech, a few kilometres away from the match day venue.
As per FIFA and CAF regulations, the team will feel the Marrakesh stadium surface on Friday (today) at 9pm in the only training session to be conducted in Morocco before the game.
Odds against Uganda Cranes:
Unlike on the previous travels, one thing the players will not use as an excuse is poor treatment as everything needed has been in place ahead of the game. But one fact that must not be dismissed is that odds are entirely against the Cranes.
First and foremost, Uganda has never beaten Senegal in any competition with the latter winning once and drawing twice in their three previous meetings. The two draws all 1-1 came when Uganda hosted and all they needed were late equalizers from the spot.
However, Cranes Coach Micho believes history may not necessarily determine the outcome of the game.
“In football, you are as good as the present game”, he says in reference to history being against Uganda.
Besides, there is always a first time, is it going to come on Saturday? Time will tell.
Secondly, Uganda’s abysmal record on the road is also another worrying factor. In the past 13 years, Cranes have only mastered two away wins in qualification campaigns at senior level; the 2-1 win over Malawi in Blantyre in 2000 and the 1-0 win over Guinea Bissau in 2011.
However, neither Senegal is going to enjoy home comfort as they are playing at a neutral venue. In addition, the Cranes have fond memories of the Marrakesh having attained victory at the venue 1-0 against Morocco in the 2011 LG cup.
In a nutshell, the Cranes will go into the game with an underdog tag but that can only help the boys play without much pressure.
It’s time for Cranes to fly over Lions of Teranga. Let’s all believe.