Uganda Cranes has been grouped in what some term as ‘group of death’ for the 3rd edition Orange Africa Nations Championship (CHAN) after the draw which was held on Wednesday at the CAF Headquarters in Cairo, Egypt.
Micho’ Sredojevic’s side Uganda will lock horns with emerging powerhouses Morocco, Zimbabwe and Burkina Faso.
Former coach Bobby Williamson’s 2011 team were bundled them out in the race to Chan 2011, which was held in Sudan posting a disappointing show when they lost all three matches to finish last in their group.
The team lost to Gabon, Algeria and hosts Sudan and only managed to score one goal through Saddam Juma.
Defender Denis Iguma cannot wait to compete in the 2014 Africa Nations Championships (CHAN) which will take centre stage in South Africa.
The SC Victoria University defender, who played the last game against Gabon in the 2011 CHAN event in Khartoum, Sudan, is set for the task ahead after knowing Uganda’s opposition.
“I wanted to see which teams we are going to face, but am not really bothered by who wehave been given,” added the defender, who also features for the senior side that failed to qualify for the last phase of the 2014 World Cup after falling to Senegal 1-0 over a week ago in Morocco.
Iguma, who scored the lone goal in the Cranes’ 1-0 away win over Taifa Stars of Tanzania during the CHAN qualifier, said he is hungry as a player to give his best and help Uganda perform better than in the 2011 edition.
“We must work as a team and play every game like a final,” said Iguma.
Goalkeeper Hamza Muwonge is the only other Cranes player who was part of the squad that featured in Khartoum and will certainly make it to the third edition of the event in South Africa.
Chan is an imitation of the Africa Cup of Nations but only home-based players feature in this one.
The tournament, due to take place in South Africa from 11 January – 1 February 2014, pits the continents best national teams, composed of only locally based players, against each other.
16 teams including hosts South Africa entered the draw, which was conducted by CAF secretary general, Hicham El Amrani.
All the qualified teams with the exception of hosts South Africa, were ranked based on their performances during the last two editions of the competition in 2009, in Cote d’Ivoire and 2011 in Sudan.
Host South Africa head Group A, along with west African giants Nigeria and Mali, as well as COSAFA rivals Mozambique.
This pool will be based at the Cape Town Stadium, which will also host the opening day’s action when the South Africans tackle Mozambique and Nigeria face-off against Mali.
Ghana are the top seeds in Group C to be hosted by Bloemfontein, and they will take on Libya, Ethiopia and Congo.
Polokwane plays host to Group D and that contains 2009 CHAN winners DR Congo, Gabon, Burundi and Mauritania. The latter two have qualified for their first ever continental finals.
The top two sides in each pool advance to the quarterfinals, while the final of the competition will be played in Cape Town on February 1.
Group A (Cape Town Stadium) – South Africa, Mali, Nigeria, Mozambique
Group B (Athlone Stadium, Cape Town) – Zimbabwe, Uganda, Burkina Faso, Morocco
Group C (Bloemfontein) – Ghana, Libya, Ethiopia, Congo
Group D (Polokwane) – DR Congo, Gabon, Burundi, Mauritania