- 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers (Group E)
- Thursday August 31, 2017
- Uganda Vs Egypt – Namboole @ 4pm
For many Ugandans, discussion of qualification for the FIFA World Cup remains a distant dream.
Until it happens, it is an issue not many even think about beyond qualifiers.
However, the Road to Russia remains a bright one for Uganda Cranes as they stand second in Group E just two points behind log leaders Egypt who they face in back to back clashes.
If Cranes beat the Pharaohs on Thursday, they will leapfrog them into first position with just nine points to fight for and thus anything will be bound to happen.
Interim Coach Moses Basena who guided the Cranes past Rwanda to reach the CHAN 2018 finals faces arguably his biggest test as a coach but remains optimistic of a decent result against the seven-time African champions.
“We have a duty to do on Thursday and on Wednesday next week,” said Basena. “We need to focus from first minute to the last minute,” he added.
The Uganda Cranes have been solid defensively but when we went to Kigali, we did concede from set plays and its area we have been working on it. We should also try converting the chances we create and avoid lapses at the back as we don’t want at any time to be chasing the game.
His Egypt counterpart, Hector Cuper whose side boasts of a better record against the hosts has downplayed his side’s psychological advantage depending on the previous results.
Football continually changes. What happened in the past is in the past. Yes it is good, it gives the players motivation but every game is different from the other.
Cuper points at the change in the Uganda Cranes technical team as something they have to worry about although he indicated both teams know a lot about each other.
They have a new coach now; he could be changing things in his team. Yes, we know a lot about the team but we should be ready as well for any changes during the game itself.
As we have a lot of information about them (Uganda), they also know a lot about us.
There are no injury worries in the Uganda Cranes camp and bar midfielder William Luwagga Kizito who was yet to arrive; all the summoned players are in camp.
For the visitors, defender Ali Gabr and Al-Taawoun’s Mostafa Fathi suffered an injury and didn’t travel with the rest of the teammates.
- Uganda Cranes has never played at the FIFA World Cup finals whilst Egypt has only appeared at the finals twice; 1934 & 1990.
- Uganda Cranes has only won once in the previous 17 meetings with the Pharaohs – 5-1 in an international friendly in 1965.
- Uganda’s Farouk Miya is among the five leading goal scorers in the campaign with four goals.
- Egypt’s top scorer in the campaign so far is Mohamed Salah with just two goals.
Man to watch
Emmanuel Okwi – The Simba SC striker netted four times against Ruvu Shooting on Saturday and if he can carry that form into Namboole on Thursday, then Uganda will have a reason to be optimistic.
Mohamed Salah – He is currently among the most in form players in the English Premier League with Liverpool and if he is in the mood at Namboole, expect a tough afternoon for the Cranes defender.
Uganda Cranes Probable XI:
Goalkeepers: Essam El-Hadary (Al-Taawoun, KSA), Sherif Ekramy (Ahly), Ahmed El-Shennawy (Zamalek)
Defenders: Ahmed Fathi, Saad Samir, Rami Rabia, Ahmed Hegazy (West Brom, England), Ahmed Elmohamady (Aston Villa, ENG), Mohamed Abdel-Shafy (Ahli, KSA), Karim Hafez (RC Lens, France), Omar Gaber (FC Basel)
Midfielders: Mohamed Elneny (Arsenal, England), Ramadan Sobhi (Stoke City, England), Sam Morsy (Wigan Athletic, ENG), Mahmoud Trezeguet (Kasimpasa, Turkey), Mostafa Fathi (Al Taawoun, KSA), Abdallah El-Said, Hossam Ashour, Saleh Gomaa (Ahly), Tarek Hamed (Zamalek), Mohamed Fathi (Ismaily)
Forwards: Mohamed Salah (Liverpool, England), Mahmoud Kahraba (Ittihad, KSA), Amr Gamal (Bidvest Wits, South Africa), Ahmed Hassan Koka (Sporting Braga, Portugal), Hossam Hassan (Smouha)