TOTAL CHAN 2018: The Cranes pursue a positive start as they take on Zambia

The Cranes during Saturday’s training (Picture courtesy of FUFA media)

By: Daniel Nsubuga

Uganda will look to start on a possible high note as they take on Zambia in a group B encounter that will be played at the Grande Stade de Marrakech.

This is Uganda’s 4th consecutive appearance at the CHAN championships but they have never gone past the group stages, having only managed one win all together.

The Cranes have never managed a win from their group openers and they will have to negotiate a tough fixture against Zambia, a side that beat them 1-0 in the previous edition of 2016 hosted in Rwanda. Zambia and Uganda were in group D of that edition.

This will be the first competitive match for Cranes head coach Sebastian Desabre since his appointment in late December 2017. During all his media briefings, the Frenchman has highlighted the importance of the opening match as regards the team’s progress to the knock out stages,

“The opening match against Zambia will be key as regards our progress, we have to handle it with maximum care and we hope to get a positive result out of it.

Said Desabre before the team set off for Morocco.

Desabre echoed the same message during his pre match interview yesterday.

“Our opening game is very important, Zambia is a good side and we are ready to face them. It’s 50/50 for either side, our target is to win the first game”.

The two teams have met 6 times since August 2011 and the Chipolopolo have won 4 times, Uganda 1 and 1 draw. Uganda’s only win came in September 2012 courtesy of a Geoffrey Massa goal.

This will be Zambia’s 3rd appearance at the championships, having been among the 8 nations that took part in the inaugural edition hosted by Ivory Coast in 2009, Zambia finished 3rd after falling to eventual winners Congo DRC in the semis. Their second appearance was in 2016 but they were eliminated at the quarter finals by Guinea.

Head coach Wedson Nyirenda will be in charge for the first time in the competition and he also expects to drive his nation past the achievements of his predecessors. He says,

“The players are here to showcase their quality and we are looking forward to go in the tournament”.

The match will be kicked off at 10:30 pm at the Grand Stade Marrakech.

Probable line up :

Benjamin Ochan, Nicholas Wadada, Isaac Muleme, Timothy Awanyi, Bernard Muwanga, Tadeo Lwanga, Saddam Juma, Milton Karisa, Muzamir Mutyaba, Derrick Nsibambi, Allan Kyambadde.

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