Uganda Cranes seek historical spot against already qualified hosts

Goal of the Day - 26/6

After managing to collect four points from their first two games, Uganda Cranes are hoping to achieve a historical qualification to the Total Africa Cup of Nations knockout stages for the first time in 41 years when they lock horns with already qualified hosts Egypt at the Cairo International Stadium on Sunday (30 June 2019) as Group A reaches its ultimate stage.

DR Congo and Zimbabwe face each other in a simultaneous kickoff (21:00 local time, 19:00 GMT) at the Cairo based 30 June Stadium.

Egypt guaranteed their eight finals place with 6 points, Uganda follows with 4, Zimbabwe has a lone point while DR Congo trail pointless.

After back to back wins over Zimbabwe and DR Congo, The Pharaohs are looking to end the mini-league stage with at least a draw that would secure top spot and a date against the third of one of the groups C, D or E in the next round. That point would also be enough to see Uganda in the knockout stages, a feat they last achieved in 1978 when they finished runner ups to Ghana then.

“We know it’s going to be difficult against the hosts, but we need to qualify and will play to win”, said Uganda coach Sebastien Desabre. The Frenchman worked in Egypt with Ismaily before joining the Cranes last year. “I love to be in Egypt and I know well what to expect here”, he added.

Meanwhile Egypt’s coach Javier Aguirre confirmed his side is not taking things lightly despite booking their eighth finals ticket. “We need to finish as group winners so we will field our best team. Maybe one or two changes because we have players who could miss the next match through suspension”, the Mexican said before the game.

Previous AFCON encounters

18.01.1962 Addis Ababa Egypt 2-1 Uganda

01.03.1974 Cairo Egypt 2-1 Uganda

03.03.1976 Addis Ababa Egypt 2-1 Uganda

21.01.2017 Port Gentil Egypt 1-0 Gabon

 What they said

Sebastien Desabre (Coach, Uganda)

We have 4 points before playing against Egypt. It’s going to be difficult against the hosts but we will try to adopt an offensive tactic and try to win this game. This is our third match and what we are thinking of is reaching the next round. We are facing one of the best teams in the continent. They played in the World Cup and have many good players. But my players are motivated to have a very good game whoever our opponent is. Egypt is a very good team and we’ve studied them well, but I prefer to speak about my team. Every game is a challenge for us and my players are very motivated. I have full confidence in my players and am sure they will do a great job against Egypt.

Hassan Wasswa (Midfielder, Uganda)

We don’t feel any pressure, we will just put our plan. We are not focusing on any individual player but we will do our best.  It’s not the first time we play in Egypt. I used to play here and I know them very well, they are a very good side. For us it’s about working hard and staying focused and our target is the maximum points. When you come to a tournament like this your target is working hard and taking one game at the time. We are focusing on Egypt game now and after that we hope to qualify to the next round then let’s see what happens. The weather is not a problem for us. When you go to a tournament you study the conditions well and we don’t have any problem with the weather conditions.

Javier Aguirre (Coach, Egypt)

Even we already qualified we want to top the group so we will field our best lineup to win. Till now we did not play as good as we can but we have 6 points. I hope against Uganda we have the best game for us. I’m sad for Gennish injury and I hope we have a good game for him. I will field our best players and I don’t think we will make big changes to the starting 11. We have 3 players with yellow cards and we have to take care about that. Maybe we make one or two changes. Against Uganda I think it’s going to be a tough game, they are a very organized team and make good use of set pieces and we have to keep fighting and careful for 90 minutes. Our fans are extraordinary and we play with 12 players. Also seeing fans of the other teams is fantastic and this Africa Cup for me is a great experience.

Ahmed Elmohamady (Captain, Egypt)

Winning two games raised our morale. We played against Uganda before and we have a tough game tomorrow and our target is to win to top the group. Gennish injury made us all sad but we hope him speedy recovery. We adopt attacking style as the coach tells us and also we go forward in set pieces and Thank God and I scored 3 goals in the last 7 games, I hope to score more. We play at home and everyone is dreaming of the title. We do our best to make our supporters happy and know well they support us. We will do our best and hope to emerge as champions.  We are focused in all matches and nothing distracts us.