Cranes’ AFCON fixtures
Uganda v DR Congo (Saturday, 5.30pm)
Uganda v Zimbabwe (June 26, 8pm)
Uganda v Egypt (June 30, 10pm)
Winner $4.5 (sh17b)
Runner-up $2.5m (sh9)
Semi-finalists $2m (sh7b)
Quarters $800,000 (sh3b)
Lifting that prestigious and glittering trophy will be the ultimate objective of all 24 countries due to battle at the Africa Nations Cup that starts on Friday.
But equally important will be the huge monetary rewards of not just becoming African champion, but finishing anywhere among the best eight countries.
By virtue of participating at the 2019 Africa Nations Cup finals, Cranes are already guaranteed at least $600,000 (sh2.2b).
And this is besides, the $260,000 (sh961m) that was offered to all the 24 participating teams at the competition to assist in preparations for the final tournament.
But this could be more as Confederation of African Football (CAF) president Ahmed Ahmad told the media recently.
“Obviously, we increased the prize money for the competition,’’ Ahmad told Radio France International recently.
If and it’s a big if, Cranes can defy all the odds and win the championship, they will return home with $4.5m (sh17b) and that is much more than what last year’s winner and defending champions Cameroon got $4m (sh15b) for winning the 2017 finals.
Losing the final will still earn them $2.5m (sh9b). If Cranes are knocked out at the quarter-final stage, the consolation will be $800,000 (sh3b) while progress to the semi-final stages will guarantee $2m (sh7b).
For the first time, 24 teams will be competing and, also for the first time, the tournament will be taking place in the European summer rather than in the middle of the domestic season.
Although the tournament will be closer than the odds suggest, Egypt will start as favourites, in part due to home advantage and in part due to the quality of stars in their ranks such as Mo Salah.
Whether Cranes make the knock-out round will depend on whether Uganda can register a winning start against DR Congo on Saturday.