- Soccer. A win for Uganda Cranes against the Black Stars of Ghana today will keep their World Cup dream right on track.
Kampala. Who knew that Uganda, 41 and 19 places behind Africa’s number one Egypt, and traditional giants Ghana in Fifa ranking, would enter the penultimate stage of the 2018 Fifa World Cup Russia qualification with a real chance of crafting an untold fairytale!
The Cranes could astound and leave seven-time African champions Egypt, and 1978 Afcon final nemesis Ghana in their wake, which would not only be the shining light in a politically charged year, but one that would go down as the country’s best ever global feat.
However, for that to happen, Moses Basena – who never dreamt of being in charge at this moment, but thanks to Micho Sredojevic quitting in the middle of the campaign he is – must beat Ghana at Namboole Stadium this evening.
With Egypt widely expected to complete a double over Congo when the Pharaohs host the side they edged in Brazzaville tomorrow, victory over Ghana Black Stars would not be enough to qualify to Russia.
But it will have succeeded in stretching the battle into the final day on November 6, when Uganda go to Congo looking to win their first ever match there against the hosts.
That would also be accompanied by a prayer that Ghana stop Egypt in West Africa for Uganda to complete their fairytale. And what a story that would be!
“Incredible,” said Basena, who is managing at the highest level for the first time in his coaching history, “What an honour that would be!
“But look, we have to remain focused on the game against Ghana, and later away in Congo.
“What is in our hands is to win our remaining two games and hope for something out of the Egypt versus Congo and Ghana matches. Basena’s opposite, Kwesi Appiah, knows Ghana have not won a major qualifier in Kampala, with their last visit in 2014 ending a 1-0 defeat.
“They are a very tricky side especially when playing at home,” said Appiah, “But we want to go into the game prepared well because it is very vital for both of us at this stage.”
Cranes goalkeeper and skipper Denis Onyango will demand total concentration from likely right back Denis Guma, left back Godfrey Walusimbi, and the central pair of Isaac Isinde and Bernard Muwanga/Savio Kabugo in face of Christian Atsu, Frank Acheampong and Raphael Dwawena.
Right ahead Hassan Wasswa’s solidity and Tony Mawejje’s tenacity will come in handy against Richmond Boakye and Atletico Madrid’s Thomas Partey, with Farouk Miya, Emmanuel Okwi and one of Derrick Nsibambi or Geoffrey Sserunkuma expected to make things happen for Uganda upfront.
Uganda Cranes probable XI:
Denis Onyango, Denis Guma, Isaac Isinde, Bernard Muwanga, Godfrey Walusimbi, Hassan Wasswa, Tony Mawejje, Isaac Muleme, Farouk Miya, Emmanuel Okwi, Derrick Nsibambi
Benjamin Ochan, Isma Watenga, Nicholas Wadada, Timothy Awany, John Adriko, Fred Okot, Savio Kabugo, Tom Masiko, Ivan Ntege, Luwagga Kizito, Karisa Milton, Joseph Ochaya, Shafiq Kagimu, Gadaffi Gardinho, Ibrahim Kayiwa, Muzamiru Mutyaba, Idrisa Lubega, Nelson Senkatuka, Geoffrey Sserunkuma, Paul Mucureezi
Goalkeepers: Richard Ofori (Martizburg,South Africa), Lawrence Ati (Sochaux, France), Joseph Addo (Aduana Stars)
Defenders: Harrison Afful (Columbus,USA), Daniel Opare (Augsburg, Germany) Agbenyenu Lumor (Portimonese, Portugal), Abass Mohammed (Harrisburg City, USA), Kasim Nuhu (Young Boys, Switzerland), Daniel Amartey (Leicester,England), Jonathan Mensah (Columbus Crew,USA), Nicholas Opoku (Club Africain, Tunisia), Vincent Atinga (Hearts of Oak)
Midfielders: Thomas Partey (Atletico Madrid, Spain), Joseph Attamah (Basaksehir, Turkey), Christian Atsu (Newcastle United, England), Kingsley Sarfo (Malmo, Sweden) Alfred Duncan (Sassuolo FC, Italy), Ebenezer Ofori (Stuttgart, Germany), Frank Acheampong (Tianjin TEDA, China), Isaac Twum (Inter Allies), Patrick Twumasi (Astana FC, Kazakhtan)
Forwards: Raphael Dwamena (FC Zurich, Switzerland), John Antwi (Misr Lel-Makkasa, Egypt), Richmond Boakye Yiadom (Crvena Zvezda, Serbia)
GROUP e STANDINGS
Team P W D L Pts
Egypt 4 3 0 1 9
Uganda 4 2 1 1 7
Ghana 4 1 2 1 5
Congo 4 0 1 3 1