As good as Cranes have been at home over the years, the task at hand is quite formidable.
PIC: Cranes's Hassan Wasswa and Murshid Juuko take on Egypts Mohsen Marwan the last time the two teams faced on at AFCON. (Credit: Mpalanyi Ssentongo)
2018 RUSSIA WORLD CUP QUALIFICATION
Uganda v Egypt at 4pm (EAT)
KAMPALA - When Cranes confront Egypt in today’s must win World Cup qualifier at Namboole Stadium, there will be a number of mouthwatering head-to-head match-ups on display.
Below is a guide on how the two sides will measure up.
GOALKEEPERS: Denis Onyango (Uganda) v Essam El Hadary (Egypt)
Onyango is Africa Player of the Year based in Africa. He is also a CAF Champions League winner. He is a top quality goalkeeper with vast experience. But so is El-Hadary. The Egyptian captain is regarded as one of the best African goalkeepers of all time. El-Hadary has represented Egypt 144 times, winning the African Cup of Nations four times with his country. At 44, he is too old.
RIGHT-BACKS: Nicholas Wadada (Uganda) v Ahmed Fathy (Egypt)
Wadada is combative and has impressive drive. He is also offensively good. But Fathy is equally a determined full back. He offers Egypt’s attacking players support from the defensive third when possession is gained.
LEFT-BACKS: Joseph Ochaya (Uganda) v Mohammed Abdul Shafy (Egypt)
Ochaya will force Egyptian full-back Fathy back by running forward with the ball. He is also strong with a brilliant left foot. On the other side, Shafy is a swift full-back that uses his left foot well. He will try to cover Egypt’s left side effectively.
CENTRAL DEFENDERS: Isaac Isinde (Uganda) v Ahmed Hegazy (Egypt):
Hegazy is a strong defender with pace and great timing in the tackle. The West Brom defender has created a solid partnership with Gabr Mossad which the Cranes will find hard to crack. But so has Isaac Isinde and Murushid Juuko. Isinde passes the ball well out of defence under pressure, is intelligent, is extremely solid and has good aerial strength than his height suggests.
CENTRAL DEFENDERS: Murushid Juuko (Uganda) v Gabr Mossad (Egypt)
Juuko is elegant. He also reads the game well. Mossad on the other hand is as solid as a rock. He can be too aggressive sometimes and that could play in Cranes favour.
MIDFIELDERS: Hassan Wasswa (Uganda) v Mohamed Elneny (Egypt)
Wasswa is a grafter that has tidy control and makes enthusiastic surges. He tucks in well when the ball is lost and gives good width when it is regained. On the other side, Elneny has presence. His tackling and clever positioning often allows Mohamed Salah the opportunity to conduct proceedings.
MIDFIELDERS: Khalid Aucho (Uganda) v El Said Hamed (Egypt)
Aucho has a great vision. He also passes the ball well out to the wide areas. He will however confront Hamed, a player, whose ball protection is second to none. Hamed is elegant and comfortable when moving in possession. He is at times used as a support striker.
CREATIVE MIDFIELDER: Farouk Miya (Uganda) v Mohamed Salah (Egypt)
Miya is Cranes’ potential match-winner. He drops off the lead striker well to link up with the team’s three-man midfield and the results have been priceless. On the other side, Salah is different class. The Liverpool star is the heart and soul of this Egyptian team.
RIGHT ATTACKERS: Luwagga Kizito (Uganda) v Hassan Mahmoud (Egypt)
Kizito has good fitness levels. He needs to work on his end product though. On the other side, Mahmoud is tricky but runs out of steam.
LEAD STRIKERS: Geoffrey Sserunkuuma (Uganda) and Marwan Mohsen (Egypt)
He is a veteran but one that can decide this game if allowed acres of space. Mohsen can be a handful. He also has good physical attributes.
LEFT ATTACKERS: Emmanuel Okwi (Uganda) v Sobhi Ahmed (Egypt)
Okwi often looks to hit the space behind teams that play the high-line. He seems to have rediscovered his scoring touch. Sobhi on the other hand, thrives on intelligent movement and keeps fullbacks occupied with pace.