What: Uganda Vs Madagascar – AFCON 2015 2nd leg Qualifier (2nd round)
When: Saturday May 31, 2014 @ 4.00PM
Venue: Mandela National stadium, Namboole
Match officials: Mohamed Farouk Mahmoud (centre referee – Egypt)), Ahmed Abou Elela (first assistant – Egypt) Ahmed Saha Hasaneen (second assistant – Egypt), Mohamed Abdu Elmenen Hanafy (forth official – Egypt) and Osama Ataa Elman Hussein (Match Commissioner – Sudan)
Madagascar stand between Uganda and the next round of the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers as the two teams battle it out at Mandela National stadium, Namboole in the return leg of the first qualifying round this Saturday.
The Cranes lost the first leg 2-1 a fortnight ago and will look to overturn the deficit if they are to remain on course for a slot in Morocco.
Cranes coach Mulitin ‘Micho’ Sredojevic is upbeat ahead the match which the hosts need to win at least 1-0 to set up a date with either Equatorial Guinea or Mauritania in the pre-group tie.
“We have the firepower within our ranks to dispose Madagascar,” said Micho ahead of the game. “We have respect for the opponents as usual but we don’t surrender all respect. Our focus is on the game and I believe we are going get the desired result,” the Serb who will be in charge of his first game in the second year of his contract added.
His counterpart Franck Rajaonarisamba sounded equally confident on arrival at Entebbe International Airport saying that pressure is on Uganda with the Barea carrying a slim but imperative advantage going into the game.
“We managed to win the first leg which gives us an advantage coming to the second match at Namboole”, Rajaonarisamba told Kawowo Sports.
Uganda has not lost a game at Namboole since 2004 but Barea striker Charles Carlous Andriamahitsinoro has warned that his side doesn’t care and they are ready to end it as long as it helps them progress.
“We are aware of that record at home for Uganda, but records get broken each other day”, Andriamahitsinoro scorer of the second goal in Mahajanga told Kawowo Sports shortly after arrival at Entebbe International Airport.
Uganda Cranes Team News:
Coach Micho will be spoilt for choice after the return of senior players Denis Onyango, Tonny Mawejje, Geoffrey Massa and Moses Oloya. The quartet missed the first leg due to injuries and club duty and their return is a great boost for the team. Cranes 2014 CHAN goal scorer Yunus Sentamu is also available for selection but The Cranes will however be without FSL top scorer Francis Olaki who is reportedly out of the country seeking a professional deal.
Onyango’s return automatically relegates youthful goalie Ismail Watenga to the bench but Denis Iguma is expected to retain his slot at right back.
Following a dismal performance in the first leg, Joseph Ochaya is likely to drop to the bench with Isaac Muleme who impressed in CHAN 2014 starting at left back.
The biggest question comes at centre back with all boys fit and raring to go. Andrew Mwesigwa is likely to retain his position by virtue of being skipper despite his abysmal performance in the 2-1 loss coupled with him arriving late in camp. Isaac Isinde is expected to replace Henry Kalungi as Mwesigwa’s partner at the heart of defence but Richard Kasagga and Savio Kabugo also offer other options.
In midfield, Hassan Wasswa’s is likely to pave way for the returning Tonny Mawejje whilst Kenya based duo of Geoffrey ‘Baba’ Kizito and Aucho Khalid complete the centre of the pack trio.
In attack, Emma Okwi is expected to retain his place but Kiiza and Martin Mutumba Kayongo are expected to pave way for Moses Oloya and Geoffrey Massa respectively.
That implies Massa to lead the attack through the middle with Oloya (right) and Okwi (left) completing the three man attack.
Besides, Micho may opt to drop one of the central midfielders and go with Brian Majwega on the left, Moses Oloya on the right with a two man attack of Okwi and Massa in a traditional 4-4-2 system.
Man to watch – Geoffrey Massa:
The Pretoria University striker returns to the team after controversially missing the 2014 World Cup qualifiers group decider against Senegal and will without doubt lead the Cranes hunt for goals. His goals may be hard to come but he is tireless with pace and energy to trouble any opposing defenders. Besides, he leads the charts in the qualification campaigns with seven goals. He will be key for Cranes if they are to avoid an upset of early elimination.
Uganda Cranes Probable XI:
Denis Onyango (GK), Denis Iguma, Andrew Mwesigwa, Isaac Isinde, Isaac Muleme, Aucho Khalid, Tonny Mawejje, Geoffrey ‘Baba’ Kizito, Moses Oloya, Geoffrey Massa and Emmanuel Okwi.
Madagascar Team News:
The Barea arrived in Uganda without key players Ibrahim Amada (club assignment) and Lalaina ‘Bolida’ Nomenjanahary (injury) for the tie but Coach Franck Rajaonarisamba has options.
Man to Watch – Charles Carlous Andriamahitsinoro
He scored The Barea’s second goal in the first leg but was villain for missing an opportunity to put the score beyond Uganda as he failed to convert from the spot. He was a nuisance to the Cranes defence all day and will be the man the Cranes defence must keenly watch if they are to avoid an upset.
Goal Keepers: Robin Jean Claude Rakotonirina and Chretien Andriamifehy
Defenders: Thierry Jordan Dupray, Francois Randrianomenjanahary, Olivier Ralaidimy, Fenosoa Ratolojanahary and Herinaina Elysee Randriamanantena
Midfielders: Mickael Rabeson, Lantoniaina Andriamanalina,Henri Charles Gladyson, Paul Johan, Tojo Ramanitrandrasana, Tojo Harijoro Razafindrabe, Dina Fiononana Razanakoto, and Njiva Rakotoharimalala.
Strikers: Carlous Andriamahitsinoro, Ima Faneva Andriatsima and Baggio Rakotonomenjanahary.
DID YOU KNOW?
Uganda need to beat Madagascar 1-0 or win by a two goal margin if Madagascar score to progress to the next round
In in 1983, Madagascar eliminated Uganda from the AFCON qualifiers on away goals rule. The Barea lost 1-2 at Nakivubo but had won the reverse fixture 1-0 and progressed despite a 2-2 aggregate draw.
Uganda has not lost a home tie since the controversial 1-0 loss to South Africa on October 10, 2004 in the 2006 World Cup qualifiers.
The winner of the tie faces either Equatorial Guinea or Mauritania with Ghana, Togo and Guinea Conakry lurking in Group E.
Uganda’s last appearance at AFCON finals was in 1978 where they lost 2-0 in the finals to the eventual winners Ghana whilst Madagascar has never played at the finals.
Going into the game, Madagascar will be buoyed by the first leg 2-1 win. Besides, the Cranes did put up one of their worst performances in recent years something that will give the Malagasy more confidence. Nevertheless, I don’t see The Cranes failing to dispatch the 189th ranked FIFA nation at Namboole stadium. A formidable home record coupled with a return of senior players plus the 12th player in the stands, I see Uganda cruising to a comfortable victory.
UGANDA 3-0 MADAGASCAR
What is your prediction?