Uganda vs. Togo Namboole Stadium SS9E, 4PM
By all accounts, the news that next year’s African Cup of Nations is in doubt after the Moroccan Government called for the event to be cancelled due to the ongoing Ebola crisis in the continent is not encouraging for Uganda Cranes fans. The north Africa country is due to host the three-week competition which is scheduled to kick off on January 17.
Since the outbreak was first reported in west Africa in March of this year, more than 4,000 people have died from the virus.
Uganda today faces Togo in a fixture that will make or break the country’s hopes of making it to the continental showpiece next year and Cranes coach, Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojevich side come into this fixture in better form, having won one and drawn two ties against Guinea and Ghana respectively and sit top of the four team log in Group E.
A win for Uganda will surely brighten their chance of qualifying for AFCON since 1978, depending on the result of the other fixture involving Ghana and Guinea but not if the Moroccan gov’t decides not to host afterall.
Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone and Nigeria are four African countries desperately trying to contain the disease. Afraid of the rampant Ebola epidemic, several countries including Uganda have set up strict health precautions to minimize chances of contracting the deadly disease. Last month, the entire contingent of the KLM carrier at Entebbe International Airport that included the Guinea national football team members were subjected to a thorough health check up before being allowed entry into the country.
Cranes’ group mates Guinea will again be at their adopted home in Casablanca when face off with the Black Stars of Ghana today due to the menace posed by the Ebola virus back home while Uganda’s Ministry of Health had asked FUFA to cancel the qualifier fixture on September 10th in fear of exposing Ugandans but cleared them on last minute.
Morocco last staged the tournament 26 years ago but its government now want it cancelled for fear of the Ebola virus spreading to other parts of the continent.
Their health ministry have lodged a request with the Confederation of African Football (CAF) to call off the biennial competition.
The CAF has already moved qualifying matches from those countries worst-hit by the virus.
We are yet to get an official comment from the Federation of Uganda Football Associations owing to their busy schedule ahead of today’s crucial game.