Uganda Cranes coach Micho Sredojevic will certainly hope his local stars avoid North African opposition as draw for the 2014 African Nations Championship (CHAN) to be staged in South Africa takes centre stage in Cairo on Wednesday.
Micho who’s Cranes lost 3-0 to Libya in an international friendly before collapsing to Egypt by the same result in August to dent his good start to the Cranes job with one more loss to Senegal and twice as much wins over Liberia, Angola, a double over Tanzania and Botswana in Gaborone.
The 15 qualified teams and hosts South Africa will be placed into four groups of four teams to vie for honours in the third edition of the tournament that takes places from January 11to February 1, 2014.
Uganda who eliminated Tanzania in a two legged play off in the qualifiers is in Pot 2 and will draw either of seeded teams in Pot 1 that include South Africa , DR Congo , Ghana and Zimbabwe .
But qualification hero, URA striker Frank Kalanda who scored twice as Cranes whipped neighbours Taifa Stars is ready for anyone, “We can face any team that is drawn against us,” he told our reporter in a phone chat on Wednesday morning.
Other nations in Pot 2 are Gabon, Mali and Libya with Burkina Faso, Burundi, Ethiopia and Nigeria in Pot 3 whereas Congo, Mauritania, Morocco and Mozambique constitute Pot 4.
The top seeds will be decided by previous performances and number of appearances in the CHAN tournament. Inaugural CHAN winners DR Congo have the highest points, 14 from their previous participation, Ghana have eight and Zimbawe are third with six points. South Africa will complete the group seeds by virtue of being the hosts.
CAF’s decision to make Zimbabwe seeds means they will play their matches at the Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane while hosts South Africa and second seeds DRC will be based in Cape Town and the Black Stars in Bloemfontein.
The remaining 12 teams will be categorised into three pots (Pot 2, Pot 3, Pot 4) based on their results in the first two editions of the CHAN tournament and their zones.
DR Congo won the first edition of the competition played in Cote d’Ivoire in 2009, with Tunisia victorious two years ago in Sudan.
POT 1: South Africa, DRC, Ghana and Zimbabwe
POT 2: Uganda, Gabon, Mali and Libya
POT 3: Burkina Faso, Burundi, Ethiopia and Nigeria
POT 4: Congo Brazzaville, Mauritania, Morocco and Mozambique