Venue: Mandela National Stadium, Namboole
Kick Off: 5.00pm
Date: Saturday July 19, 2014
Uganda Cranes Team News:
The Cranes will be without a number of key players for the game. Tonny Mawejje, Dan Sserunkuma and Henry Kalungi (left out of the squad due to impending transfers), Aucho Khalid (suspension) and midfielder Mike Azira (club duty) are all out of the game.
Good news though is the return of left fullback Godfrey Walusimbi from suspension. The Gor Mahia star missed both games against Madagascar after his red card against Senegal in the 2014 World Cup qualifiers.
How will The Cranes Lineup?
Mulitin ‘Micho’ Sredojevic is expected to stick with Denis Onyango in goal after the South Africa based goalie kept a clean sheet in the return match against Madagascar. This implies that Robert Odongkara who has been used in the two friendlies against Seychelles and Malawi will deputize.
Walusimbi is expected to be the only change in the back four from the team that won 1-0 against Madagascar with Denis Iguma, Andrew Mwesigwa and Isaac Isinde maintaining their slots.
In midfield, Geoffrey ‘Baba’ Kizito and Ivan Ntege are expected to play as the holding two midfielders whilst Moses Oloya and Brian Majwega to feature on the right and left side of midfield respectively.
Upfront, Brian Umony maybe preferred ahead Yanga SC striker Emmanuel Okwi after the latter sat out most of the training sessions days preceding the game due to a bout of Malaria.
Besides, Okwi missed the two warm up games against Seychelles and Malawi.
Man to watch – Geoffrey Massa:
The Pretoria University striker netted the only goal in the win over Madagascar to secure ‘The Cranes’ slot at the stage and will still be expected to lead the hunt for goals against Mauritania.
Denis Onyango (GK), Denis Guma, Godfrey Walusimbi, Andrew Mwesigwa (c), Isaac Isinde, Geoffrey ‘Baba’ Kizito, William Luwagga Kizito, Geoffrey Massa, Moses Oloya, Brian Umony and Brian Majwega.
The team arrived in Kampala on Wednesday and has since been training at Phillip Omondi stadium, Lugogo.
Coach Patrice Neveu has no injury worries ahead of the tie and will hope his side gets a decent result to build on when they host The Cranes in a fortnight.
Ismail Diakite; the man who scored the lone goal against Equatorial Guinea in the first leg of the first round will be the man to watch.
Head to Head Statistics:
Uganda and Mauritania have only met once previously with the former winning 3-0 in an international friendly in January. The two nations were in preparations for the CHAN finals in South Africa.
What You Didn’t Know:
– The Cranes are ranked 87th in the world and 20th in Africa while Mauritania are 133rd according to the latest July FIFA ranking.
– The Cranes have featured at the Africa Nations Cup finals five times with the latest coming in 1978 while Mauritania are seeking qualification to the finals for the maiden time
– Uganda has not lost a competitive game at Namboole for a decade. Their last loss came in 2004 against South Africa in the 2006 World Cup qualifiers.
The Cranes have struggled to get past lowly ranked Madagascar in the previous round and were only saved by the away goals rule. However, their opponents needed a boardroom decision that threw out Equatorial Guinea to reach the stage.
Though the hosts haven’t been sharp upfront as witnessed in the warm up games prior to this tie, I expect them to comfortably win against Mauritania since they are at home.
Uganda 3-0 Mauritania
What is your prediction?