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Uganda draws easiest group in AFCON

By Vision Reporter

Added 9th April 2015 03:09 PM

If Cranes fail to qualify for the 2017 Africa Nations Cup tournament in Gabon, then Ugandan football must be in critical need of ritual cleansing.

Uganda draws easiest group in AFCON

If Cranes fail to qualify for the 2017 Africa Nations Cup tournament in Gabon, then Ugandan football must be in critical need of ritual cleansing.

By Fred Kaweesi

Nations Cup qualifiers


June 13
Uganda v Botswana

September 5

Comoros v Uganda

March 24, 2016

Burkina Faso v Uganda

March 29, 2016

Uganda v Burkina Faso

June 4, 2016

Botswana v Uganda

September 3, 2016
Uganda v Comoros

If Cranes fail to qualify for the 2017 Africa Nations Cup tournament in Gabon, then Ugandan football must be in critical need of ritual cleansing.

At the luxurious Mariot ‘Zamalek’ Hotel in Cairo yesterday, Uganda was handed the easiest draw of all 12 groups in the qualifiers to the championship due in Gabon.

And just like several pundits, Cranes coach Micho Sredejovic concedes that although the games will be competitive, Cranes should be in position to qualify for the 2017 finals considering their Group D opponents Burkina Faso, Botswana and Comoros.

“We need good preparations and support from the start to end in order to transform the dreams of Ugandans into reality,” Micho told New Vision minutes after the draw in Cairo yesterday.

The Serbian has promised to draw a comprehensive strategy that -if followed -should end Uganda’s near misses in a qualification drought that has lasted 40 years.

“We will not leave any stone unturned this time. Imagine a group where Cameroon and South Africa are or the group where Nigeria and Egypt are. Our group is competitive but playable. We just need to take every match as it comes as we have learnt that it’s not the way you start but the way you finish,” Micho added.

According to the Serbian tactician, the strategy will take into account the ‘strengths and weaknesses’ of each of Uganda’s group opponents in the 2017 Nations Cup qualifiers as well as ensure a perfect balance for the 2016 Africa Nations Championship (CHAN).

Below is Micho’s assessment of Cranes’ opponents:

On Burkina Faso: FIFA Ranking: 68

“We share the same sponsors Airtel. They showed quality reaching the Nations Cup final in 2013 and were unlucky in the 2015 tournament in Equatorial Guinea. They have a new coach Gernot Rohr and are favourites in the group. But despite having good individual players, we will answer them with a team looking forward to qualifying.”

On Botswana: FIFA Ranking: 106

“Botswana is a team with a good crop of players. But we played them in two friendly matches where we won one and drew the other. But those were friendly games. We need to get a formula for the matches against them as it’s likely that the points against them will decide the group.”

On Comoros: FIFA Raking: 177

“They have no big name but have a number of professional players in France. Kenya progressed past them in recent qualifiers with just one goal.

We need to respect them as in this group format, home and away, every point has golden values.”

Familiar opponents

Uganda, ranked 74 in the FIFA Rankings, have with the exception of Comoros (who are the weakest in the group), managed decent results against Burkina Faso before.

In the 2006 World Cup qualifiers, Cranes lost 2-0 to Burkina Faso away and drew 2-2 with the West Africans at Namboole.

Uganda however beat the West Africans 2-1 during the Africa Nations Championship (CHAN) last year in South Africa.

In 2013, Uganda beat Botswana 3-1 in an international friendly match away in Gaborone.

The 2017 qualifiers will have thirteen groups, each with four teams. The group winners and two best overall runner-ups will qualify for the tournament.

Favourable fixture trend Uganda will launch her campaign against Botswana in June before playing away in Comoros in September.

If Cranes claim maximum points from these first two fixtures, all they will need to do is secure three points from their double-header against Burkina Faso in March in 2016 and win any of their last two games against Botswana or Comoros to qualify.

Of course that remains an ‘if’, and many will remain sceptical understandably so considering that Cranes needed a win from their two games against Angola and Kenya in 2011 to qualify and still failed.

They couldn’t even qualify in the shootout against Zambia in 2012.

But then again, if Cranes can’t qualify in a group that has Burkina Faso, Botswana and Comoros, then surely, there must be a problem!


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