2015 Afcon qualifying fixtures
Saturday, Nov 15, 2014
Uganda vs Ghana, Namboole, 4pm
In this match, Uganda Cranes would like to redeem their pride as they have all to play for at this juncture and try and get their qualification campaign back on track.
The Cranes held Ghana on the road before beating Guinea at home to get their 2015 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying campaign off to a flying start, but defeats to Togo home and away leaves Micho’s men with a lot to do if they are to make it to next year’s showpiece.
Uganda did manage a confidence booster ahead of the remaining qualifiers, dispatching Ethiopia 3-0 on Sunday, and will now look to carry that momentum into their meeting with Ghana on Saturday and Guinea four days later.
Micho says that although the Black Stars will be minus inspirational coach Asamoah Gyan, he still thinks the visitors will be a tough opponent.
“We can’t take Ghana for granted because they top Group E with eight points and also have several professional players featuring in big League around the world,” added the Coach. In their first leg meeting in Kumasi, the Black Stars needed a second half penalty to cancel out Tony Mawejje’s goal to settle for a 1-all draw.
But Sredojevic thinks the match on Saturday is a must win if his team is to have a chance of qualification for Afcon which has eluded them since 1978. “We are third in the Group with four points and another win would put us in a good position before we travel to face Guinea next week,” reasoned Sredojevic.
Out of the four goalkeepers ticked by Micho to prepare for the Ghana and Guinea games, only two will take part in the Saturday’s game.
And beside undisputed first choice against Ethiopia last weekend Robert Odongkara, the national coach seems to have chosen Denis Onyango as Cranes’ official back up between the posts.
Displaced from the starting line for most of the qualifiers this term only to get a nod against Togo in Lome after skipper Andy Mwesigwa got suspended, centre-back Isaac Isinde looks like he is fully set and should be able to fulfill his job at the right back of the Cranes’ defence in absence of Denis Guma who was dropped over administrative issues with his club SC Victoria University. Winger Brian Majwega will play a makeshift role at the left of defence for Godfrey Walusimbi who is suspended for the tie.
With Mwesigwa assured of a spot in the final list, Micho counting a lot on experience for a successful campaign, it is KCCA’s Richard Kasagga who is likely to have to pack his bags over fellow centre-back Savio Kabugo.
In midfield, Mawejje is expected to play as the lone defensive midfielder sitting just in front of the back four with Farouk Miya, Mike Sserumaga and William Luwagga Kizito completing the diamond.
The biggest question mark for Micho remains, however, the fitness of AS Vita striker, Yunus Sentamu who picked up a knock in training earlier in the week.
The former St Mary’s Kitende SS player is now facing an uphill task in trying to convince his coach that he can fully recover for the epic game, and may have to join the unlucky bunch on the bench.
And with prolific Geoffrey Massa, Sentamu, Gor Mahia forward Daniel Sserunkuma and URA’s Robert Ssentongo are set to battle for the last available attacking spot.
With a bit more experience on the international stage, Sentongo seems to have a slight upper hand over the Sentamu and Sserunkuma. On his chances of starting or playing some role, Sserunkuma said: “Personally, I continue working hard and it is up to the coaches to select the team. But whoever is selected will give 100 percent for the team.
Mawejje who scored the all-important goal in the 1-1 first leg stalemate in Kumasi before Andre Ayew levelled matters from the spot, but the Norway-based midfielder says all that is history now, and what matters in the remaining two games, starting with Ghana this Saturday.
“That (events in Kumasi) doesn’t count anymore,” he said, “Yes it was a great goal but that’s history now and I’m just looking forward to making great results starting on Saturday.”
Like in Kumasi, Mawejje says coach Micho will again ask them to go to onto the Namboole turf and express themselves. “He is telling us ‘go and show your qualities.’
“We just need to be on top of our game. I mean if everyone performs to their best nothing will hinder us. It’s just a question of everyone throwing everything on the pitch.”
Ghana stand in Coach Maxwell Konadu will be without midfielder Kwadwo Asamoah (injury) and Jordan Ayew (suspension) plus skipper Gyan Asamoah (injury). The latter however travelled with the team as a way of solidarity and to offer morale to his compatriots.
However, he maybe a surprise inclusion in the team after he trained well with the rest of the players for the previous two days in Kumasi Kawowo Sports has learnt.
In Kwadwo’s absence, Emmanuel Agyemang Badu is expected to fill the void in the centre of the pack while Abdu Majeed Waris and Mubarak Wakaso are available options to take over from Gyan.
In goal, Konadu is expected to start with the experienced Fatau Dauda with John Boye, Harrison Afful, Jonathan Mensah and Babu Abdul Rahman completing the back four.
Emmanuel Agyemang Badu, Solomon Asante, Christian Atsu and skipper Andrew Ayew are all available while Abdu Majeed Waris and David Accram are primed to lead the hunt for goals.
Uganda, third in Group E of Afcon qualification with four points behind leaders Ghana’s eight – must beat the Black Stars to maintain their slim hopes of qualifying for next year’s Nations Cup as one of the top two in their pool.
Played – 11 (six of them in competitive matches)
Uganda wins: 2 (1 competitive, the other an invitational)
Ghana wins: 6 (2 competitive, the other friendlies and invitationals)
Draws: 3 (all competitive)
GROUP E STANDINGS
Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts
Ghana 4 2 2 0 8 5 +3 8
Togo 4 2 0 2 5 5 0 6
Uganda 4 1 1 2 3 3 0 4
Guinea 4 1 1 2 4 7 -3 4