[The Harambee stars led by Tottenham’ Victor Wanyama]
By: Danito Nsubuga
As the Uganda Cranes look to launch the project 2019 in an away visit to Cape Verde, fellow East African counterparts are also taking part in the same campaign
Sudan were shocked by Madagascar 3-1 in the first match of the 2019 AFCON qualification Group A game at the Al-Ubayyid Stadium in Al-Ubayyid on Friday night. Feneva Andriatsima opened the scoring followed by penalty taken Carolus Andriamatsinoro, Sudan pulled one back through substitute Ather El Tahir but Andriantsima put the match beyond reach with his second goal of the night to seal all 3 points for the visitors.
TANZANIA VS LESOTHO
Tanzania welcome Lesotho a side that has never qualified for the AFCON in their history to the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam today and
Kickoff is set for 8:00 pm Ugandan time.
Tanzania are in Group L with Cape Verde, Uganda and Lesotho and all their hopes are vested in theonfire Racing Genk forward Mbwana Ally Samatta who has made his name in the Belgian Pro league. The two nations are only separated by one place in the recently published FIFA World Rankings with Tanzania 139th and Lesotho lying in 140th. They have only faced twice each winning once.
SIERRA LEONE VS KENYA
The Harambee Stars kick off their nations Cup campaign with a visit to Sierra Leone in Group F at the National Stadium in Freetown on Saturday at 6:30 pm
Stanley Okumbi will depend on Midfield dynamo Victor Mugabe Wanyama to ensure his side return to the table of men in African football, a feat they only managed 13 years ago in Tunisia. Kenya lie 74th place in the latest FIFA World Rankings, 39 places above 113th ranked Sierra Leone.
BURUNDI VS SOUTH SUDAN
Burundi host South Sudan in another East African Derby at the Prince Louis Rwagasore Stadium in Bujumbura on Saturday.
Kick-off is at 3:00pm. South Sudan will look too striker James Saeed Morgan for inspiration in the Group C clash. Both nations have never qualified for AFCON but we shouldn’t forget that Sudan only began challenging in 2014
CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC VS RWANDA
Having taken over the reins from Johnny McKinstry, German Antoine Hey will begin his campaign with a tricky away trip to Central African Republic in the city of Bangui on Sunday 11th, The match will kick off at the Barthelemy Boganda Stadium.
The Amavubi will be aiming to seek their 2nd qualification after having also last made made it 13 yrs ago. They play against “The wild beasts” of CAR, a side whom they have not faced in any competitive match. They however lie closer to each other in the latest FIFA World rankings on 129th and 130th respectively
GHANA VS ETHIOPIA
The Walya Antelopes of Ethiopia will also take on Ghana in Kumasi in their opening Group F match in Kumasi on Sunday afternoon.
They are in the same group with Kenya and Sierra Leone.
CONGO DRC VS CONGO BRAZAVILLE
Congo DRC hosts Congo Brazaville in one of the most highly billed games of the weekend in Kinsasha at 80, 000 seater Stade de Martyrs.
DRC are the region’s most successful nation having won the championship on two occasions, in 1968 and 1974 and taking part in 18 editions.
Florent Ibengé will look to AFC Bournemouth youngster Benik Afobe , Villarreal’s Cédric Bakambu, Chancel Mbemba, Jonathan Bolingi and a host of other stars
DR Congo currently occupy 39th spot on the latest FIFA World Rankings, with Congo down in 85th spot.
In 27 previous meetings, DR Congo have won 11, lost nine and drawn on 9 occasions.