In Summary
  • Cranes are unbeaten in their last nine away games, including 1-0 results in the Africa Cup and World Cup qualifiers in Cape Verde and Togo respectively.

KAMPALA. Only Uganda Cranes and Egypt’s Pharaohs have destiny of the 2018 World Cup in their own hands.
Group E took a dramatic and perhaps decisive turn after all four teams played their third fixtures, the last being Ghana’s 1-all with Congo Brazzaville on Friday night in Kumasi.
A day after Uganda beat Egypt 1-0 to go top of the four-team group with seven points, one more than the latter in second, Ghana and Congo shot themselves in the foot.
The Black Stars, the three-time World Cup finalists, have only two points. Congo have one and will need a miracle from here on.

Real contenders
For both, it is out of their hands with three games to play. One of Uganda or Egypt will be in Russia.
Cranes arrive in Cairo this morning, then take the short trip to Alexandria – two hours by road and 30 minutes by air – aware that a maiden World Cup advent is within sight.
Should coach Moses Basena’s team avoid defeat at the Borg Al Arab stadium in the Port City, Egypt will take a position similar to Ghana and Congo – waiting for Uganda to falter.
“We will be playing a wounded Egypt on Tuesday,” Basena warned after Emmanuel Okwi’s goal earned Uganda a first victory over the seven-time champions in 52 years.
“Now, we have to take a break while travelling and ensure that players recover since the next game is a few days away,” Basena said.
Okwi, Farouk Miya and Hassan Wasswa seemed to suffer ‘cramps’ in an absorbing game. More of the same work ethic is expected of them.
Traditionally, North Africa is tough place but Basena and many Ugandans could point to KCCA’s run in Caf Confederations Cup this year.
That run included overcoming El Masry (Egypt), Club Africain (Tunisia) and Fus Rabat (Morocco).
“We always had this fatalistic mentality. Before, we played them, we were always defeated. That defeatist approach is now gone,” KCCA coach Mike Mutebi explained. However, all those victories happened at their Philip Omondi Stadium. KCCA still got battered 4-0 in Tunisia and 3-0 in Morocco to invoke memories of the 90s. During the same period, Egypt and Tunisia did wallop Cranes 6-0 on visits to North Africa in 1995 and 1997. Something similar is incomprehensible, for now.

Good travellers
Cranes are unbeaten in their last nine away games. These included a 1-0 victory in Cape Verde in the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers through a late Geoffrey Sserunkuma strike.
Also, Miya hit the back of the net in a 1-0 result in Lome where Uganda beat Togo to ease into the group stages of the 2018 World Cup qualifiers. “We will remain focused. Of course, everyone knows that we haven’t done well in some places but that is irrelevant now,” captain Denis Onyango said.
He knows that he might need a repeat of his heroics like he did on Thursday when he kept out Egypt’s and Mohammed Salah and Saleh Saleh.
Onyango has done even more, saving penalties in Togo and Comoros, the latter came in the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualification campaign that ended a 39-year absence.

STATISTICS CORNER

GHANA v CONGO B.
65 POSSESSION 35
0 YELLOW CARDS 4
11 FOULS 30
0 OFFSIDES 0
6 CORNERS 1
14 GOAL ATTEMPTS 5
2 SHOTS ON TARGET 2
1 FINAL SCORE 1

Group E - Standings

P W D L F A Pts
Uganda 3 2 1 0 2 0 7
Egypt 3 2 0 1 4 2 6
Ghana 3 0 2 1 1 3 2
Congo 3 0 1 2 2 4 1