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‘Uganda Cranes not a motorbike in Formula One race’

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Cranes coach Micho. COURTESY PHOTO

Group E
Saturday
Uganda v Congo Brazzaville 4pm
Sunday
Egypt v Ghana 7pm

Cranes coach Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojevic is talking up his team’s chances in a tough group ahead of  World Cup Africa qualifiers this weekend.

“Some Africans compare the Uganda national team to a motorbike competing in a Formula One race. I disagree as we can match any side,”  he said.

Micho has just led the Cranes to qualification to their first African Cup of Nations finals since 1978. The team’s chances to improve on this performance at a competition they have never qualified for, the World Cup, initially seemed to have been dented when they were grouped with Ghana and Egypt.

Uganda defied the predictions by holding Ghana 0-0 away in the opening match.

Uganda could now go top of the group if they win versus Congo Brazzaville on Saturday. They warmed up for Saturday’s game with a friendly against Zambia that they lost 1-0 on Tuesday.

Ghana coach and former Chelsea manager Avram Grant however seems unperturbed by a poor start in Group E last month after bottom seeds Uganda forced a 0-0 away draw against him.

“We have five matches to go and there is no need for panic,” he told reporters. “After losing our opening game at the 2015 Cup of Nations, we went on to reach the final.”

Grant welcomes back fit-again Andre ‘Dede’ Ayew, but injuries sideline fellow midfielder Kwadwo Asamoah and veteran striker Asamoah Gyan.

Egypt pulled off a 2-1 comeback win in Congo Brazzaville and will be fired up to avenge a humiliating 6-1 away thrashing by the Black Stars in a 2014 World Cup play-off.

“I know what Ghana did to us, but that is history,” said Argentina-born Egypt coach Hector Cuper. “We fear no team and our target is qualification for Russia.”

 

Standings  P W D L F A Pts
Egypt              1   1    0  0 2 1  3
Ghana            1   0    1  0 0 0  1
Uganda          1   0   1   0 0 0  1
Congo             1   0   0  1 1 2   0

Note: group winners qualify for 2018 World Cup in Russia

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Algeria, Ghana face daunting World Cup tasks

African football giants Algeria and Ghana could have hopes of qualifying for the 2018 World Cup in Russia irreparably damaged if they lose difficult away matches this weekend.

Algeria, ranked third in the continent behind the Ivory Coast and Senegal, face resurgent Group B pacesetters Nigeria in Uyo Saturday.

Fifth-ranked Ghana tackle Group E leaders Egypt a day later in Alexandria with the hosts lifting a security-induced ban on spectators to permit a 50,000 crowd.

Should 2014 World Cup qualifiers Algeria and Ghana lose, they will trail Nigeria and Egypt by five points in their groups with a third of the six-matchday schedule completed.

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