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Nations Cup qualifier: Cranes face Burkina Faso tonight

By Fred Kaweesi

Added 13th November 2019 02:10 PM

Secondly, besides possessing Africa’s best goalkeeper Denis Onyango, Cranes come into this game with an inform player in Farouk Miya, whose goals have rocked the Turkish Super League.

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Secondly, besides possessing Africa’s best goalkeeper Denis Onyango, Cranes come into this game with an inform player in Farouk Miya, whose goals have rocked the Turkish Super League.

Uganda Cranes coach Johnny McKinstry. File Photo
 
Nations Cup qualifiers
Today, 10 pm
Burkina Faso v Uganda
Sunday, 4 pm
Uganda v Burkina Faso
 
Uganda has assembled its ‘strongest Cranes side in years’ for the Nations Cup qualifying double-header against Burkina Faso today and Malawi on Sunday.
 
When the Cranes walkout at the 35,000-capacity 4 August 1983 multi-purpose stadium today, they will appreciate that man-for-man; they have a side capable of taking on and beating the very best of African football—home or away.
 
And their belief of registering a winning start in their 2021 Nations Cup qualifying campaign in Ouagadougou this evening can be backed by so many reasons.
 
To start with, the Cranes will—for the first time ever—embark on a qualifying campaign with virtually the entire squad plying their trade across the borders.
 
With the exception of Charles Lukwago (KCCA), Allan Okello (KCCA), Halid Lwalilwa (Vipers), Nicholas Kasozi (KCCA) and Fahad Bayo (Vipers), the rest of the 23-man team that newly appointed coach Johnathan Mckinstry will draw his first-team are foreign-based and bring loads of quality and experience to the Cranes fold.
 
Secondly, besides possessing Africa’s best goalkeeper Denis Onyango, Cranes come into this game with an inform player in Farouk Miya, whose goals have rocked the Turkish Super League.
 

 Okwi and Farouk Miya (right)  will lead Uganda's attack

Miya, whose attacking industry is such an integral part of how Cranes play, has scored five goals so far, just four short of the top scorer Adis Jahovic (Yeni Malatyaspor).
 
Cranes’ away form isn’t bad either –their 1-0 win over Ethiopia in October the latest in a string of remarkable results on the road.
 
Nearly half the team were part of the Cranes side that lost 1-0 in Ouagadougou in March 2016 courtesy of a Jonathan Pitroipa first-half penalty.
 
Considering that Uganda and Burkina Faso are the heavyweights and favorites to progress from Group B, it will be interesting to see how Cranes coach Mckinstry will confront the Stallions for a result that will ultimately decide who tops Group B.
 
The Stallions’ local coach Malo Kamou will unleash a star-studded team, oiled by the mercurial skills of Alain Traore, Bertrand Traore, and Jonathan Pitroipa, with the
the huge frame of Aristide Bance at its focal point.
 
At the back, the hosts will count on Dylan Ouédraogo with defensive midfielder and captain Charles Kabore tracking Cranes’ central attacking midfielders Farouk Miya and Khalid Aucho.
 
How to beat Burkina Faso On the evidence of the physical presence in the Stallions team, there is a likelihood that crosses won’t bother the hosts. The team’s 6ft 2in defenders will prove tall enough to deal with all aerial concerns.
 

 Uganda Cranes forward Miya

Cranes' ideal strategy will be to play with pace and force their defenders into errors.
 
Burkina Faso’s defenders seem uncomfortable with players running at them.
 
If Emmanuel Okwi, Moses Lumala, and Miya run at them, there will be genuine chances for a goal or two.
 
Besides Pitroipa, Traore is widely regarded as the Stallions’ deadliest player. The Cranes will need a game-plan to neutralize him. And one of the ways will be playing a
high tempo game to tire this Burkina Faso team, whose spine comprises players that are way too old to be in the team.
 
The 2021 qualifiers have 12 groups, each with four teams. The group winners and second-placed teams will earn a ticket to the 2021 showpiece in Cameroon
 

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