AFCON 2019 Qualifiers (Group L): Sunday, 24th March 2019
- Tanzania Taifa Stars Vs Uganda Cranes
- National Stadium, Dar es Salaam (6 PM)
Uganda Cranes has 13 points in group L of the AFCON 2019 qualification process and has already made the grade.
However, there is a still a fierce battle between the three remaining countries – Tanzania, Lesotho and Cape Verde.
Coming to final matchday, both Tanzania and Lesotho have five points and Cape Verde has four.
Tanzania hosts East Africa neighbours Uganda in the hot derby affair at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam.
Cape Verde will be home to Lesotho in Praia.
Both matches will be of equal significance. Here are the likely anticipated key battles between Uganda and Tanzania.
Ally Mbwana Samatta (Tanzania) Vs Dennis Onyango (Uganda)
Arguably rated as the best goalkeeper on the African continent at the moment, Dennis Onyango comes up against yet another stern test of character and big moment with a sharp forward as Ally Mbwana Samatta.
The Mamelodi Sundowns’ first choice goalkeeper who is also the team captain for Uganda Cranes carries a cult status for country and club.
Against KRC Genk’s Samatta, the two captains will square off to inspire their respective countries.
Already, Onyango has indicated that given the bold fact he has not conceded in as many as five matches during the qualifiers, he would like to keep the record intact.
Samatta is the hungrier party with the desire to inspire Tanzania to their second ever nations cup appearance in 39 years.
On a home ground where close to 70, 000 spectators will be in attendance, Samatta would love to do in style – score against Onyango in Dar es Salaam.
Thomas Ulimwengu (Tanzania) Vs Murushid Jjuuko (Uganda)
Murushid Jjuuko is one of the three Uganda Cranes players on the current team playing in Tanzania. The other two are Emmanuel Arnold Okwi and Nico Wakiro Wadada.
Jjuuko, a Simba Sports Club defender, will directly come head on against JS Soura forward Thomas Ulimwengu in the contest.
Ulimwengu is a seasoned striker who has faced all sorts of defenders and beat them with skill and power.
Against a no-nonsense Jjuuko who has been key to Uganda Cranes campaign thus far, the contest will be interesting and eye catching.
Simon Msuva (Tanzania) Vs Godfrey Walusimbi (Uganda)
Direct and fast paced winger Simon Msuva will face an extremely intelligent left back in Godfrey ‘Jjajja Walu’ Walusimbi.
The Morocco based wide man who features at Difaa El Jaadid Sports Club will be expected to provide width and urgency to the Taifa Stars in the game that they need maximum points.
Walusimbi is very experienced and faced all sorts of wingers in his illustrious career.
His rich footballing skills easily back up the pint sized structure. Currently, a free agent following a stint with Kaizer Chiefs in South Africa, the former Gor Mahia left back has all it takes to defend and attack in equal measure throughout the 90 minutes in Dar es Salaam.
Himid Mao (Tanzania) Vs Khalid Aucho (Uganda)
Most footballing battles are won and lost in central midfield.
Himid Mao currently at Petro Jet in Egypt comes under close scrutiny when he faces the big framed Khalid Aucho, who turns out for India’s Churchhill Brothers.
Both players have the ability to tackle and win possession, pass at all ranges as well as command the midfield chores at all times.
The winner of this battle will definitely impact positively to the respective side.
Shaban Chilunda (Tanzania) Vs Emmanuel Arnold Okwi (Uganda)
Dar es Salaam is without doubt the second home to Simba Sports Club talisman Emmanuel Arnold Okwi.
Okwi is a darling to many. He is respected and adored to the brim.
There will however be no love when Okwi faces the Tanzania Taifa Stars as he represents his mother country, Uganda.
He remains a key fulcrum in this particular fixture given his unpredictability, cunningness and ability to shoot with either feet at all ranges,
He will come up against the home country defenders but mostly Shaban Chilunda.
The Spanish based player who plies his trade with Tenerife is calm and a good game reader ready to thwart Okwi’s dangerous runs with and without the ball.
John Raphael Bocco (Tanzania) Vs Nico Wakiro Wadada (Uganda)
In case Tanzania goes for all attack approach, we are likely to witness John Raphael Bocco, Mbwana Samatta and Thomas Ulimwengu all starting the game.
Towering Bocco prefers to dash to the right and left flanks.
As he gets to the left, Uganda Cranes’ right back Nico Wakiro Wadada, a player at Azam Sports Club will be ready to handle hime.
Wadada is so hard working during a football game and often plays to perfection in equal measure on the defensive and offensive roles.
Bocco’s height advantage could be a disservice for Wadada but the right back has the good timing to man mark when need is called for.
Emmanuel Amunike (Tanzania) Vs Sebastien Desabre (Uganda)
The two tacticians battle remains a big talking point as well.
Frenchman Sebastien Desabre will once against face Nigerian legend Emmanuel Amunike in a competitive game.
The first time these two directly faced off was during that goal-less draw at Mandela National Stadium on 8th September 2018.
Sunday’s match therefore will be one match to settle the egos and a platform for either coaches to prove who is better.
Apparently, whichever decision that any of these two coaches make right from the dressing rooms, team selection, warm up, match proper and the changes will matter a lot.
Both coaches cherish the offensive and defensive antics in equal measure.