KAMPALA- Majority of Cranes players arrived back home from Congo last night to eight Azam Uganda Premier League (AUPL) matches lined up for tomorrow.
Milton Karisa’s first half goal nullified Marvin Baudry’s opener for Congo as the Cranes drew 1-1 to end their 2018 World Cup attempts second in Group E on nine points, four behind pool winners Egypt and two ahead of Ghana.
Moses Basena, who is expected to remain in charge of the team heading into the upcoming Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup, and his boys have no time to even take in the stock of their decent run.
Uganda had never reached the group stage in World Cup qualification, let alone finish ahead of Ghana and sharing three points apiece with Egypt over the two legs.
Former Cranes coach Micho Sredojevic left the Cranes with four points from two matches, and Basena, as interim manager, led the team to five more points from four matches.
Now after tomorrow’s set of league matches, several home-based Cranes players will again be involved in another congested engagement list on Saturday, next Tuesday and Friday – making it 24 fixtures before the league breaks off for Cecafa.
Cecafa is scheduled to kick off on November 26 through December 6 in Kakamega, Kisumu and Nakuru, with Kasarani in Nairobi and Machakos on standby in case the rest of the venues are not ready in time.
Guests Zimbabwe and Libya will join traditional Cecafa countries including defending champions Uganda, who won the 2015 title in Ethiopia, for the tournament was last held two years ago.
As Cecafa ends in Kenya, Uganda youth side - the Hippos – will be making a bow in the Cosafa U-20 championship in Zambia as guests.
The Hippos, under coach Matia Lule, open against the Young Chipolopolo of Zambia at the Arthur Davies Stadium in Kitwe on December 6.
“The tournament will give the boys an opportunity to showcase their talent and skills and we have good players in this age category,” said Lule.
As Cosafa is draws to a close on December 16, the senior Cranes, who by this time will be under a permanent coach, will be preparing for the Africa Nations Championship (Chan) due in Morocco from January 12 to Feb 4 next year.
Uganda will follow up Chan with the resumption of the 2019 Nations Cup qualifiers by hosting Tanzania on March 23, 2018.
CRANES NEXT ENGAGEMENTS
2017 Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup finals
(Nov 26-Dec 6)
Participating countries: Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya, Libya (Guest), Rwanda, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zanzibar, Zimbabwe (Guest)