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How Cranes match Egypt

By Charles Mutebi

Added 1st September 2017 05:03 PM

It’s equally highlighted in the comparison between the two team’s respective top stars

How Cranes match Egypt

It’s equally highlighted in the comparison between the two team’s respective top stars

The Egyptian squad battling Uganda in back-to-back 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers is founded on a seven-man English Premier League contingent.

The Uganda Cranes' is dominated by Azam Premier League call-ups, 11 in all.

If you're making comparisons, this is a good place to start although Uganda can take pride from this fact because their locally-led squad suggests vibrancy in the home game.

When a country is able to retain its best players, it's normally a good health indicator.

Local stars v Foreign

That is, normally but not absolutely because in this match-up Egypt are in the actual enviable position.

The Pharaohs are better for being able to draw on a large number of players from England's top flight as well as other notable places like France's Ligue 1, Portugal's Primeira Liga and Switzerland Swiss Super League.

When it comes to matching up the Cranes and Pharaohs, the gulf in class is highly pronounced in this regard but that's not where it ends.

Onyango vs Salah

It's equally highlighted in the comparison between the two team's respective top stars.

Uganda stopper Dennis Onyango may be top among African-based footballers but compared to the sweltering star power of Mohammed Salah, he doesn't come close.

Onyango's actual value and impact in determining the winner of this tie may be as high if not higher than Salah's but in terms of star appeal, the Egyptian winger is in a different stratosphere.

Salah factor

Salah joined Liverpool from Italian giants AS Roma for £34m in June and reportedly earns $116, 341 per week, which on the evidence of his last three Premier League performances is way below what he deserves.

By contrast, Onyango joined Mamelodi Sundowns on a free from Mpumalanga Black Aces six years ago and recently sealed a career wage-deal, rumoured to be between $15, 000 - $20, 000.

Salah's ruthless performance in Liverpool's 4-0 demolition of Arsenal on Sunday would have been watched by almost a billion people worldwide while Mamelodi's most notable outings in the ABSA Premier League hardly attract national attention.

Basena v Cuper

But the divide between coaches Moses Basena and Hector Cuper is probably the widest of all.

Despite the wane of Cuper's reputation over the last 10 years, he remains incomparably superior to his Ugandan counterpart.

Cuper's a former European coach of the year (2000), La Liga coach of the year (1999) and UEFA Club Coach of the year (2000). Basena is… well, Basena.

Cranes v Pharaohs

Thankfully for the Cranes, what matters is the matchup of the collective. For all of Egypt's advantages, the Cranes know a tactically-disciplined display can give them the upper hand in this double-header.

Egypt struggled to breakdown Uganda in the two sides' last meeting, at the Afcon, whence little has changed.

Uganda failed to take the slim chances fashioned before falling to a Salah sucker punch. The same turgid blueprint should be maintained by Basena's men, with one little amendment - a more clinical treatment of Uganda's chances.

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