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Why Cranes will need to stay calm in face of Comoros

Uganda's defender Denis Iguma (R) evades Botswana's midfielder Lebogang Ditsile during the AFCON 2017 qualifying match Botswana vs Uganda at the Francistown stadium in Botswana on June 4, 2016. AFP PHOTO
They key victory that put Uganda in qualification position. Uganda’s defender Denis Iguma (R) evades Botswana’s midfielder Lebogang Ditsile during the AFCON 2017 qualifying match on June 4, 2016. AFP PHOTO


Sunday September 4
Mandela Stadium, Namboole
Uganda vs Comoros 5pm

The nation expects. The stage is set. Will Cranes finally deliver in Africa Cup of Nations qualifying on Sunday when they take on Comoros?

Cranes coach Micho Milutin Sredejovic believes Uganda can finally make it, but like many long-suffering fans, knows we have been here before. Uganda’s football history since 1978 is full of near misses, most recently against Kenya in 2011 and against Zambia in 2013.

The last two games tell why Micho is calling for cool heads, on and off the pitch. Exactly like it is now, all Cranes needed against Kenya was a win, while against Zambia they needed not only a win, but one more goal. Both did not come and Chipolopolo advanced 9-8 on penalties.

In the years before, there were even more painful close shaves, failing to beat Nigeria after missing a late penalty in Nakivubo in 1993 and a rude welcome to Mandela Stadium Namboole where Rwanda defeated Uganda 1-0 in 2003.

“We need to remain focused and avoid being complacent so that we can re-write Uganda’s AFCON history and make it back to the competition after the last appearance in 1978,” Micho warned after excitement reached a high after Cranes’ stunning win in Botswana in June.

Micho told, ” This is one game like many others we have played. We shall need calm heads but with the value attached to it, we need to finish every move and chance created. I also call upon the fans to cheer up the team at all times.”


Cranes’ task

All Uganda has to do is beat Comoros to advance to their first Nations Cup final since 1978. If Cranes win their final game, they will be one of the two best second placed teams, that will make it to Gabon.

They set themselves up in this position by stunning Botswana 2-1 in June. 13 group winners and best two runners-up from 11 four-team groups qualify for 2017 Cup of Nations with hosts Gabon

Table of the 2nd best teams

Caf rankings

Only four other teams, CAR, Tunisia, Mali (already qualified) and Benin can end up with 13 points, but if CAR and Tunisia get the 13 points, they will deny their 2nd placed teams the chance, as that will leave them at 10 and 12 points respectively.

Mali and Benin play each other in the final match, so even if both get 13 points, one will be group leader – leaving Uganda as the second team at 13.

Teams that have qualified for 2017 Africa Cup of Nations  (full fixtures page 2)
Guinea-Bissau (Group E winners)
Morocco (Group F winners)
Egypt (Group G winners)
Ghana (Group H winners)
Algeria (Group J winners)
Senegal (Group K winners)
Zimbabwe (Group L winners)
Cameroon (Group M winners)
Mali (Group C  winners or runners-up)

Groups in contention for two second best qualification places

Group A 
Liberia      5 3 1 1 10 4 10
Tunisia      5 3 1 1 12 2 10
Togo          5 2 2 1  6  4  8
Djibouti     5 0 0 5  1 19 0
Final games
Tunisia vs Liberia
Togo vs Djibouti

Group B
DR Congo     5 4 0 1 12 5 12
C.A.R.           5 3 1 1 8  7   10
Angola          5 1 1 3 6  7   4
Madagascar 5 0 2 3 4 11 2
Final game
DR Congs vs CAR

Group C
Mali            5 4 1 0 8 1 13
Benin         5 3 2 0 10 5 11
S.Sudan     5 1 0 4 3 11 3
E.Guinea   5 0 1 4 2 6 1
Final games
Mali vs Benin

Group D
B. Faso       5 3 1 1 4 1 10
Uganda      5 3 1 1 5 2 10
Botswana   5 2 0 3 4 6 6
Comoros     5 1 0 4 2 6 3
Final games
Uganda vs Comoros
Burkina Faso v Botswana

One comment

  1. I have a foul feeling that the game is going to end in a stalemate. Comoros by all standards (even African standards) is a minnow team. This, plus being the home team, the pressure is going to be enormous on the Ugandan team. But there is also a psychological side to it, having not qualified in almost 40yrs, will create an anxiety in the minds of the players which will almost be insurmountable to overcome. However, if they can overcome these odds, it will be a momentous victory for all of us. Go Uganda, go Uganda cranes.

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