A win over the mighty Elephants in Abu Dhabi will provide the perfect impetus marching into AFCON
It’s quite challenging to predict what sort of Cranes will show up at the Africa Nations Cup finals. A lot of water has gone below the bridge over previous months.
Since the 3-0 humiliation against Tanzania during the ultimate Nations Cup qualifier in March, Cranes have not had a good opportunity to prove their real strengths and how well they have evolved.
The goalless draw against little known Turkmenistan side last Sunday was hardly the ideal result Cranes needed going into Africa’s biggest competition.
There have also been fitness concerns about particular players in the Africa Nations Cup-bound team.
Besides the surprise inclusions of Hassan Wasswa and Godfrey Walusimbi –two players that were club-less for large parts of last season, the inclusions of Bevis Mugabi (Yeovil Town), Ronald Mukiibi (Ostersunds) and Abdu Lumala (Syrlamska) – a foreign-based trio not tested in any of the six qualifying games was quite astonishing.
But today, all the five and Cranes, in general, will get the opportunity to test and weigh themselves against a more formidable outfit in Ivory Coast.
And a win over the mighty Elephants in Abu Dhabi will provide the perfect impetus marching into a championship that starts on June 21 in Egypt.
Desabre’s challenge One of coach Sebastien Desabre’s primary objectives in the game will be working out attacking combinations that will resolve the team’s scoring troubles.
Farouk Miya and Emmanuel Okwi will be fancied to start and find a way past a rock-solid Ivory Coast back-four that will include Serge Aurier (Tottenham).
Goalkeeper Denis Onyango will also have some work to do in trying to frustrate an Ivorian attack that will include Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha, Max-Alain Gradel (Toulouse) and Jonathan Kodjia (Aston Villa).
Cranes squad: Denis Onyango, Jamal Magoola, Robert Odongkara, Murushid Jjuuko, Bevis Mugabi, Isaac Muleme, Hassan Wasswa, Nicholas Wadada, Joseph Ochaya, Timothy Awany, Godfrey Walusimbi, Ronald Mukiibi, Kizito Luwagga, Khalid Aucho, Mike Azira, Farouk Miya, Tadeo Lwanga, Allan Kateregga, Abdu Lumala, Emma Okwi, Patrick Kaddu, Derrick Nsibambi and Allan Kyambadde.