Just like the 2017 African Cup of Nations, the Cranes of Uganda have been drawn in the same group with Egypt. This time, they will face the Pharaohs at their backyard and in front of their fans in Cairo. DR Congo and Zimbabwe are the other teams in Group A.
Uganda coach Sebastien Desabre says he is ready for the duel against Egypt and believes his charges can match the seven-time champions even with the entire country behind them.
“It is always a pleasure to play Egypt. At the last AFCON we were together and they won 1-0, we also played in a FIFA World Cup Russia 2018 qualifier in Kampala and we won 1-0. It has always been close which means we can have a chance,” Desabre stated.
“It is an advantage for them to be playing at home with all the support they can get and that will make it a bit difficult. But we are ready for that challenge.”
The Group has been described as ‘group of death’ and Desabre admits as much, though he concedes there will be a chance of making it into the knockout phase.
“Our objective is to qualify from the group stages and after that we will see. This is a difficult draw for us but we need to adapt to the situation quickly and plan. We have the quality and we will give 100 per cent to get good results,” he added.
“We now know our opponents and also when we will play our first game. It is good for planning. We have a training camp in Belgium for the last three weeks before coming to Egypt and we will plan on every opponent.”
Uganda qualified for their successive finals with an enviable record of four victories, a draw and a loss.
Their only defeat in the campaign came against Tanzania in Dar es Salaam, the East African neighbours winning 3-0. This was also the first time Uganda conceded in the qualification process.
“We had a very good qualification process and I think we can continue that way. Defensively we were very solid and that is one of the areas we need to ensure we keep intact. I am hopeful we will do well in Egypt,” the tactician added further.
The Cranes will begin their campaign against DR Congo on June 22 before facing Zimbabwe four days later and finishing off with a grand match against hosts Egypt on June 30.
Just one win and a draw might be enough to see them qualify for the round of 16.