Uganda Cranes will have to put their woes aside when they take on Senegal in the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) 2019 round of 16 tie at the Cairo International Stadium on Friday, July 5.
The Cranes, who will be making their first appearance in the knock-out stage of AFCON for the first time in 41 years, will take their chances after an impressive performance in the group stage.
“We are trying to put our house in order with all the Financial mess. To beat Senegal, we need to score. We know it is a good team,” Uganda head coach Sébastien Desabre said in a pre-match press conference on Thursday.
Uganda captain, Dennis Onyango, has also exuded confidence that the team will put up a notable fight.
“We are now facing Senegal in a competitive game. We can get our result; we don’t fear anyone,” said Onyango.
However, Uganda have been inconsistent in the group stage matches. They started off their AFCON campaign with an impressive win against DR Congo. They were, thereafter, held to a draw, and finally suffered at the hands of Egypt in their final group stage match.
Senegal are considered one of the favourites to go all the way to win the AFCON 2019, and are expected to make light work of Desabre’s men.
“We are now aiming for the quarters. We are not 100 percent prepared but 200 percent prepared for it,” Senegal head coach, Aliou Cisse, said.
“We know Uganda is a good team that has a great defence. They have really given other teams [a lot of] trouble,” Cisse said.
Senegal played Kenya and Tanzania in its group stage matches.
According to Cisse, Uganda are better and well-organised compared to Kenya.
Team captain and goalkeeper, Denis Onyango, who did not finish the final group stage match against Egypt, has been passed fit ahead of Friday’s game.
“I am now fully fit. We have played quality teams and we believe we can play well against Senegal,” Onyango said.
Defender Murushid Juuko has been passed fully fit and available for selection after he missed the previous two games against Zimbabwe and Egypt through injury.
Head coach Desabre also declared that Hassan Wasswa, who missed training on Wednesday after extracting a tooth, is also fit for the Friday match.
The two teams have met thrice previously. In those meetings, Senegal emerged the better team of the two, claiming a win and two draws.
The Lions of Teranga have also kept clean sheets in the last two meetings, with the most recent clash ending in a 0-0 draw in a friendly match back in 2017.