Kick Off: 9.00PM (Local Time) 11.00PM EAT
Venue: Grande Stade de Marrakesh, Morocco.
Officials: Daniel Bennet (centre referee), Zakhele Siwela (South Africa) and Marwa Range (Kenya). Fourth Official: Victor Gomes (South Africa)
The battle for a slot in the play offs of the 2014 Africa World Cup qualifying campaign in group J is on this Saturday in neutral Marrakesh, Morocco where Senegal hosts Uganda in the group decider. Despite hosting the game, Senegal will be playing far from home following CAF’s ban on their home ground of Sedar Senghor Stadium in Dakar.
Uganda needs an outright win to qualify ahead of Senegal who lead the group by nine points now one better than Uganda.
The two teams drew 1-1 in the first meeting in Kampala with Papis Cisse scoring for the Lions of Teranga in the 37th minute before Godfrey Walusimbi leveled matters for the Cranes from the spot with three minutes to go.
SENEGAL TEAM NEWS:
Coach Alain Giresse’s Lions of Teranga will miss the services of Newcastle striker Papis Cisse who is suspended for the tie due to accumulation of two yellow cards versus Uganda and Liberia.
Chelsea striker Demba Ba is once again left out of the squad by Giresse thus Lokomotiv Moscow striker Dame Ndoye, Fernerbahce’s Moussa Sow and ex-Manchester United striker who plies his trade with Hannover 96 in Germany Mame Birame Diouf are expected to lead the hunt for goals.
Westham midfielder Mohammed Diame, Lille’s Idrissa Gueye and Hannover’s Salif Sane are expected to marshal the midfield with Lamine Gassama and Cheikh Mbengue keeping things tight at the back.
MAN TO WATCH:
In the absence of strikers Papis Cisse and Demba Ba, all eyes will be on Lokomotiv forward DAME NDOYE. His pace and trickery will be imperative if the Lions are to overcome Cranes. Ndoye, alongside Mame Diouf and Moussa Sow must be keenly watched by the Uganda Cranes defence.
SENEGAL PROBABLE XI (4-3-3):
Bouna Coundoul (GK)
Lamine Sane Salif Sane Cheikh Mbengue Papa Ndiaye
Alfred Ndiaye Mohammad Diame © Stephane Badji,
Moussa Sow Mame Birame Diouf Dame Ndoye
UGANDA CRANES TEAM NEWS:
Cranes will be without lead striker Geoffrey Massa for the tie after he was dropped by Coach Micho but St. George striker Robert Ssentongo has been summoned to fill the void.
Skipper Andrew Mwesigwa is expected to feature after shaking off an ankle injury he sustained while on club duty two weeks ago. However, Coach Milutin Sredojevic says he won’t field him if not passed 100% fit by the medics with Henry Kalungi, Richard Kasagga and Savio Kabugo all available for selection.
Micho is expected to name an unchanged back four that won against Liberia and Angola with Denis IGuma and Godfrey Walusimbi at right and left fullback respectively while Isaac Isinde and Andrew Mwesigwa at the heart of defence.
In the middle of the pack, Hassan Wasswa and Geoffrey ‘Baba’ Kizito are expected to play as the two holding midfielders with Tony Mawejje playing in front of them and just behind lead striker Emmanuel Okwi while Moses Oloya and Martin Kayongo are also expected to start the game in a 4-2-3-1 system.
In case Micho opts for a 4-4-2, Hamis Kiiza and Emma Okwi will lead the line with Moses Oloya on the right and either Brian Majwega or Joseph Ochaya starting on the left side of midfield. However, this will imply dropping Baba Kizito to the bench.
Micho however has another option in attacking midfield in US based midfielder Mike Azira.
MAN TO WATCH:
If Uganda is going to pick the much needed victory from this encounter, troubled Etoile Du Sahel EMMANUEL OKWI will be the main man to steer this victory. The ex-SC Villa striker struck twice against Botswana last Saturday and is expected to lead the line against the Lions. If he is at his mercurial best, expect Cranes to pick a desired result.
UGANDA CRANES PROBABLE XI (4-2-3-1):
R. Odongkara (gk)
Denis Guma, Isaac Isinde, Andrew Mwesigwa ©, Godfrey Walusimbi
Hassan Wasswa Geoffrey ‘Baba’ Kizito
Moses Oloya Tony Mawejje Martin Mutumba
DID YOU KNOW?
– Senegal and Uganda are meeting for the fourth time in history. Senegal have won once and drawn twice in the previous three.
– Senegal are still the only unbeaten side in the group that also has Angola and Liberia with two wins and two draws from five games.
– Senegal have made one World Cup appearance (2002) where they finished as quarter finalists while Uganda is yet to make an appearance.
– Uganda has played two games at Marrakesh winning one and drawing one in the 2011 LG Cup.
– As per the current FIFA rankings, Uganda ranks number 77 one place above Senegal
– Uganda Cranes has never won an way fixture in the history of World Cup qualifiers with the draw against Angola back in June 2012 the first point on the road in history.
– Senegal has scored eight goals in the campaign three more than Uganda and have conceded fewer goals (four) while Uganda (five).
– Of Senegal’s eight goals, four were scored away (Liberia, Uganda, Angola) and one at a neutral ground against Angola in Conakry.
– Senegal have conceded in every game bar in the 2-0 victory away in Liberia.
– Four of Uganda’s five goals have been scored at home (Namboole) and only one away from home in the 1-1 draw with Angola
– The Cranes have conceded three goals on the road including a 2-0 defeat in Liberia.
– Uganda Cranes five goals in the campaign have been scored by three players; Tony Mawejje (2), Emmanuel Okwi (2) and Godfrey Walusimbi (1) all expected to start tonight.
It’s a tense game not for the faint-hearted. It’s a game difficult for both sides and difficult to predict at the same time. Uganda needs an outright win while much fancied Senegal needs just a draw. Such may put the Cranes under so much pressure thus handing the advantage to Senegal.
I expect a closely contested duel but at the end of the day, I see Alain Giresse’s boys snatching a narrow victory
Senegal 2-1 Uganda
What is your prediction?