CAF U-17 championship qualifier: Uganda v Rwanda (2pm)
Africa Nations Cup qualifier: Uganda v Mauritania (5pm)
Open stands: sh20,000
Match Officials: Hood Munyemana (centre referee), Theogene Ndagijima (first assistant), Ambrose Hakizimana (second assistant), Issa Kagabo (fourth official) and Ambaw Yigzaw Bizuayehu (Match commissioner)
Uganda Cranes skipper Andrew Mwesigwa insists that there is no cause for alarm ahead of their 2015 AFCON second round qualifier 1st Leg match with Mauritania to be played on Saturday 19 July at Mandela National Stadium, Namboole.
Uganda come into the game under immense pressure after failing to win their last international game, a friendly against Malawi on Tuesday.
The side has had to endure a run of low conversion not scoring more than a goal in an Africa Nations Cup qualifier match since 2012 (Mwesigwa, Godfrey Walusimbi, Geoffrey Massa and Emmanuel Okwi scored in a 4-0 win against Congo Brazzaville at Namboole) with the centreback attributing the dismal results to poor finishing.
“I am proud of the Cranes. They’ve played so well and there is no cause for alarm, In football you’ll need hard work and luck. What we’ve lacked is the latter,” Mwesigwa tells Red Pepper Online Sport Friday.
“We are working as a team. Am confident the goals will come against Mauritania,” Mwesigwa told reporters in the aftermath of the barren draw against Malawi on Tuesday at Namboole.
“The positive thing is that we create scoring opportunities and we have been working on conversion before Saturday,’ he added.
Cranes coach Micho Sredojevic won’t differ much from his experienced captain’s take on Saturday’s crucial game; “We are working as a team and I have a promise from the players to find their scoring boots. We are going to concentrate on creating chances and taking them in our remaining sessions. I can say Ugandans should expect a different trend,” he says.
“The players have reacted in a positive way. For me, as a coach, this proves that my players have a strong character because they have played well and will show wonderful performances over the legs.”
The Serb tactician, 44, reduced his squad by releasing Nicholas Wadada, Murshid Juuko and Muzamil Mutyaba from the camp on Thursday evening.
His team ejected Madagascar in the second round of the qualifiers and need a comfortable win at home in Namboole before traveling to Mauritania for the return leg. Mauritania benefited after initial qualifiers Equatorial Guinea were disqualified by CAF for using a player who was not eligible to feature for them.
Uganda suffered a blow upfront with Emma Okwi catching a bit of malaria during training, but with Geoffrey Massa, Brian Omony and Hamis Kiiza on hand, their firepower should be sharp.
Senior players Tonny Mawejje, Dan Sserunkuma and Henry Kalungi (left out of the squad due to impending transfers), Aucho Khalid (suspension) and midfielder Mike Azira (club duty) are all out of the game.
The excitement ahead of the game is largely due to the return of nation favourite Godfrey ‘Jaja Walu’ Walusimbi from suspension. The Gor Mahia left fullback missed both games against Madagascar after his red card against Senegal in the 2014 World Cup qualifiers.
Farouk Miya is in line to earn his 1st cap for Cranes but will need to come off the bench to get it after William Luwagga Kizito retained his place.
Mauritania will not be a push over though, having been joined by their French League 1 troop of Adama Ba (SC Bastia), Camara Khassa (Troyes) and Aboul Iba (Lens), N’Diaye Oumar (Luzenac, Ligue 2).
Their last meeting was a friendly early January with Uganda running away 3-0 winners. That particular friendly was used by both teams as preparations for Chan, where the Cranes failed to progress from the group stages.
This is how Uganda line up: Denis Onyango (GK), Denis Guma, Godfrey Walusimbi, Andrew Mwesigwa (c), Isaac Isinde, Geoffrey ‘Baba’ Kizito, William Luwagga Kizito, Geoffrey Massa, Moses Oloya, Brian Umony and Brian Majwega.