FIFA World Cup 2022 Qualifiers (Group E):
Monday, September 6, 2021: Uganda Cranes Vs Mali Les Aigles (4 PM)
At St. Mary’s Stadium, Kitende
Uganda Cranes play host to the Les Aigles from Mali during a group E match in the FIFA World Cup 2022 qualifiers at St Mary’s Stadium, Wakiso on a rare Monday duel.
The match comes a few days after these two countries played their respective opening matches in the same group.
Mali beat Rwanda 1-0 in Morocco courtesy of Adama Traore’s goal after Moussa Djenepo had missed a penalty.
Meanwhile, Uganda managed to secure a point off Kenya during the non-scoring draw at Nyayo National Stadium, Nairobi.
This will be the fifth meeting between the two sides and Uganda are yet to register a victory against Mali.
The West Africans have two wins to their name, while two previous matches ended in a share of the spoils.
Their most recent meeting came at the group stage of the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations. Second-half goals from Farouk Miya and Yves Bissouma saw both sides share the spoils in a 1-1 draw.
Uganda Cranes is currently on an eight-game winless run and need a victory to keep their hopes of qualification alive.
On other hand, Mali Eagles have won two of their last five games.
Since return from Nairobi on Friday afternoon, Uganda Cranes settled in at the Cranes Paradise Hotel in Kisaasi.
The 23 players who featured in Nairobi were joined by three more additions; Shafik Kuchi Kagimu (midfielder), Martin Kizza (forward) and Kenneth Semakula (defender).
The trio had been released when Uganda completed their international build up match against Ethiopia in Bahir Dar city where the hosts won 2-1.
It is good news that team captain Emmanuel Arnold Okwi who was stretchered off at half time in Nairobi is fully fit and ready to lead his charges.
Perhaps, defender Halid Lwaliwa who played only four minutes against Kenya and was stretchered off remains sidelined with a troublesome knee.
His replacement Enock Walusimbi is expected to carry on the mantle to partner the vastly experienced Murushid Juuko against the burly forward Ibrahima Koné (Sarpsborg 08, Norway), left winger Moussa Djenepo (Southampton, England) and Germany based Amadou Haidara (RB Leipzig).
URA captain Kagimu has a sprained ankle and is therefore also out of business for the Mali duel.
Uganda Cranes’ forwards Paul Derrick Nsibambi, Yunus Sentamu and Steven Desse Mukwala are all available.
“We shall respect Mali when they have the ball and disrespect them when we have the ball. The players have been given instructions and ready to fight for the national team” Milutin “Micho” Sredojevic disclosed.
Since their match in Morocco, the Mali delegation continued with the preparations for the Uganda contest.
They were supposed to have come on Saturday afternoon but the arrival time was extended via the chartered flight until the following day.
The players had a feel of the playing venue (St Mary’s Stadium, Kitende) on Sunday evening moments after checking in at the Entebbe International Airport before they proceeded to Kampala Sheraton Hotel.
Their team has a couple of players based in Europe as Adama Traore who plays in Turkey with Hatayspor.
Traore was the Adama 2015 Golden Ball winner at the FIFA U-20 World Cup.
Other players on the team include; Ibrahima Koné (Sarpsborg 08, Norway), left winger Moussa Djenepo (Southampton, England), Amadou Haidara (RB Leipzig, Germany), Lassana Coulibaly (Salernitana, Italy), Aliou Dieng (Al Ahly, Egypt), Hamari Traoré (Stade Rennais, France), Nantes defender Charles Traoré, Boubakar “Kiki” Kouyaté (Metz, France), Falaye Sacko (Vitória Guimarães, Portugal) and TP Mazembe goalkeeper Ibrahim Bosso Mounkoro.
Mounkoro will be facing club mate Joseph Benson Ochaya.
Mali will still miss the services of Amiens forward Bilal Toure who injured his ankle during a French Ligue 1 match.
The game shall be handled by officials from Mauritius and Burundi.
Meanwhile, Rwanda and Kenya shared the spoils 1-all at the Kigali Regional Stadium in Nyamirambo.
Probable Line Ups:
Uganda Cranes XI: Charles Lukwago (G.K), Denis Iguma, Isaac Muleme, Enock Walusimbi, Murushid Juuko, Khalid Aucho, Bobosi Byaruhanga, Moses Waiswa Ndohondi, Ibrahim Orit, Emmanuel Arnold Okwi – Captain), Joseph Benson Ochaya
Mali Eagles XI: Ibrahim Bosso Mounkoro (TP Mazembe, DR Congo), Falaye Sacko (Vitória Guimarães, Portugal), Boubakar “Kiki” Kouyaté (Metz, France), Hamari Traoré (Stade Rennais, France), Charles Traoré (FC Nantes, France), Moussa Djenepo (Southampton, England), Amadou Haidara (RB Leipzig, Germany), Lassana Coulibaly (Salernitana, Italy), Aliou Dieng (Al Ahly, Egypt), Ibrahima Koné (Sarpsborg 08, Norway), Adama Traore (Hatayspor, Turkey)