Thursday , August 17 2017
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Cranes in Botswana for make-or-break AFCON match

Okwi (left) and Massa in Francistown. PHOTO BY FUFA
Okwi (left) and Massa in Francistown. PHOTO BY FUFA.CO.UG

2017 AFCON Qualifier
Saturday

Botswana vs Uganda  5pm (LIVE SS4)
Francistown Sports Complex

Standings P W D L F A Pts

B. Faso        4   2   1  1  3  1   7
Uganda       4   2   1  1  3  1   7
Botswana   4   2   0  2  3  4   6
Comoros    4   1    0  3  2  5   3

Uganda Cranes arrived in Botswana Friday morning from neighboring Zimbabwe, a short, smooth and straightforward two hour road journey across the border that is unlike the task they face on Saturday.

With two games to the end of the qualification campaign for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations, Uganda’s Group D is so closely contested that Cranes need a result to stay in contention for a place in the Gabon Finals.

Uganda are second to Burkina Faso  on goal difference, but a win will be a huge step to securing Uganda’s first appearance at the Africa Cup of Nations finals since 1978 – as group winner or runners-up.

The 13 group winners qualify for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations, while the runners-up also qualify if they are one of the two runners-up with the best records when qualification ends in September.

Cranes’ away record is nothing to pride in, but soccer governing body FUFA have always argued that it can change if the team is adequately prepared and travel well in advance or their travel is eased with a chartered flight.

It has happened this time, with the Cranes in Zimbabwe early in the week, played a friendly, flew to Bulawayo, rested, then traveled the remaining road journey to their destination on Friday.

Other than a health scare with Farouk Miya two days back, the rest of the team are in the right frame of mind to take on Botswana.

The team has also benefited from the presence of Werder Bremen’s Melvyn Lorenzen.  Lorenzen will not be available yet for selection on Saturday but has been a very good addition technically to the team in training and at the trial match Uganda lost to Zimbabwe 2-0.

It is end of the season, with many of the players having made a mark for their teams.

Goalkeeper Denis Onyango just been voted best goalkeeper in South Africa, while Miya played regular football for the first time since moving to Standard Liege and tasted glory as his club won the Belgium cup.

Miya has all it takes to deliver a result on Saturday.

The team that travelled to Botswana: Denis Onyango, Robert Odongkara, Denis Iguma, Joseph Ochaya, Luwagga Kizito, Okwi Emma, Wasswa Hassan Mawanda, Juuko Murushid, Sekisambu Erisa, Kasirye Davis, Massa Geoffrey, Miya Faruku, Lorenzen Melvyn, Walusimbi Godfrey, Aucho Khalid, Lubega Idrisa,  Isinde Isaac, Tony Mawejje and Yassar Mugerwa.

Africa Cup of Nations matchday 5 qualifying fixtures this week (all times GMT):
Group A
Djibouti v Tunisia 1230
Sunday
Liberia v Togo 1600
P W D L F A Pts
Liberia       4 3 0 1 8 2 9
Tunisia      4 2 1 1 9 2 7
Togo          4 2 1 1 4 2 7
Djibouti     4 0 0 4 1 16 0

Group B
Sunday
Madagascar v Democratic Republic of Congo 1130
Central African Republic v Angola 1400
DR Congo     4 3 0 1 6 4 9
C.A.R.           4 2 1 1 5 6 7
Angola          4 1 1 2 5 4 4
Madagascar 4 0 2 2 3 5 2

Group C
South Sudan v Mali 1330
Sunday
Benin v Equatorial Guinea 1600
Mali              4 3 1 0 5 1 10
Benin            4 2 2 0 8 4 8
S. Sudan       4 1 0 3 3 8 3
E. Guinea     4 0 1 3 1 4 1

Group D
Saturday
Botswana v Uganda 1400
Sunday
Comoros v Burkina Faso 1200
B. Faso      4 2 1 1 3 1 7
Uganda     4 2 1 1 3 1 7
Botswana 4 2 0 2 3 4 6
Comoros   4 1 0 3 2 5 3

Group E
Saturday
Guinea-Bissau v Zambia 1600
Sunday
Kenya v Congo Brazzaville 1200
G. Bissau 4 2 1 1 4 4 7
Congo      4 1 3 0 7 5 6
Zambia    4 1 3 0 4 3 6
Kenya      4 0 1 3 2 5 1

Group F
Friday
Libya v Morocco 1800
Saturday
Sao Tome e Principe v Cape Verde 1530
Morocco 4 4 0 0 7 0 12 – qualified
C. Verde    4 2 0 2 9 5 6
Libya         4 1 0 3 6 5 3
Sao Tome  4 1 0 3 3 15 3

Group G
Saturday
Tanzania v Egypt 1300
Egypt       3 2 1 0 5 1 7  – qualified
Nigeria      3 0 2 1 1 2 2
Tanzania  2 0 1 1 0 3 1
Note: Chad withdrew after matchday 3 for financial reasons

Group H
Saturday
Rwanda v Mozambique 1330
Sunday
Mauritius v Ghana 1100
Ghana          4 3 1 0 11 2 10
Rwanda       4 2 0 2 6 2 6
Mauritius     4 2 0 2 3 12 6
Mozambique 4 0 1 3 1 5 1

Group I
Saturday
Sierra Leone v Sudan 1630
I. Coast    3 1 2 0 2 1 5
Sudan       3 1 1 1 2 2 4
S. Leone   2 0 1 1 0 1 1

Group J
Seychelles 0 Algeria 2
Sunday
Lesotho v Ethiopia 1300
Algeria    5 4 1 0 19 5 13 – qualified
Ethiopia     4 1 2 1 7 12 5
Seychelles 5 1 1 3 4 9 4
Lesotho     4 1 0 3 4 8 3

Group K
Saturday
Burundi v Senegal 1300
Namibia v Niger 1500
Senegal   4 4 0 0 9 2 12
Burundi  4 2 0 2 7 7 6
Niger      4 1 0 3 2 6 3
Namibia 4 1 0 3 4 7 3

Group L
Sunday
Zimbabwe v Malawi 1300

Swaziland v Guinea 1300
Zimbabwe    4 2 2 0 8 3 8
Swaziland     4 1 2 1 5 8 5
Guinea          4 1 2 1 4 4 5
Malawi         4 0 2 2 4 6 2

Group M
Friday
Mauritania v Cameroon 1700
Saturday
Gambia v South Africa 1700
Cameroon   4 2 2 0 4 2 8
Mauritania 4 2 1 1 5 3 7
S. Africa     4 0 3 1 3 5 3
Gambia      4 0 2 2 1 3 2

Note: 13 group winners and best two runners-up from 11 four-team groups qualify for 2017 Cup of Nations with hosts Gabon

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