Uganda’s Denis Onyango will have to produce his A game against Egypt’s Mohammed Salah
By: Danito Nsubuga
The Cranes will play against Egypt this Thursday in the FIFA World Cup qualifier 3rd match of group E.
Egypt stand on top of the log with 6 points, Uganda in 2nd with 4 followed by Ghana and Congo Brazzaville.
Egypt and Uganda have face off for a record 18 times but Uganda have only won once in a friendly match played on 4th April 1965. Uganda won the match 5:1 and since then, their next goal verses Egypt came almost 48 years later when Fabian Kizito scored in a 2-1 loss in Alexandria.
Uganda was placed in the same group with Egypt at the 2017 AFCON edition together with Ghana and Mali. Egypt emerged victors thanks to Substitute Abdallah El Said’s dramatic late winner.
Uganda’s interim boss Moses Basena will take charge of his biggest game of his career so far
There are not many changes to the teams that faced off in Gabon save for a few on the technical bench where Uganda’s Milutin Sredojevic has since resigned from his job. We look at the key battles that the fans should look out for in this encounter.
Moses Basena Vs Hector Cuper
This will be Basena’s biggest game of his coaching career, Basena was Micho’s assistant and he was appointed on interim basis to handle the Cranes 4 fixtures which included double headers against Rwanda and Egypt in the World Cup qualifiers. Basena managed to complete the first task at hand which was winning qualification to the CHAN tournament, he has managed at SC Villa, Kcca FC, URA FC, Express, Simba SC in Tanzania and currently he is the head coach at Army side UPDF FC.
His opposite number the Argentine Hector Cuper has been in the game for ages, he has coached at Lanus FC, Real Mallorca FC , Real Betis, Racing Santander, Valencia all in Spain, International Milan in Italy, Aris Thessaloniki in Greece, Orduspa in Turkey, Al Wasal in the UAE. Cuper’s international coaching career is however not as rosy as his Club career after having only managed the Georgia national team and now Egypt. He took the Pharaohs to the finals of the recently concluded AFCON tournament in Gabon when they lost to Cameroon the finals.
Denis Onyango Vs Essam El Hadary
El Hadary is regarded as Africa’s greatest goalkeeper
This is the closest of our contest, it’s Africa’s greatest goalkeeper Vs Africa’s current beat goalkeeper. The Mamelodi Sundowns keeper is Uganda’s most senior player and he is by far the only player that can genuinely stand pound for pound against the Egyptians. He is Uganda’s major source of confidence.
Essam El Hadary is not new to this scene, he is Egypt’s most capped ever player at 153 caps, he plays his football for Saudi Arabian club Al Tawoun FC. He has won everything there is to win on the continent, only lacking in his CV is helping his nation qualify for the World Cup.
Nicholas Wadada Vs Mohammed Salah
The mere talk of the name Salah causes shivers through the body of any defender in the world. The tricky midfielder advertised his abilities over the weekend when he led a Liverpool onslaught against Arsenal in the English premier league. The former FC Basel, Chelsea, Roma and Fiorentina forward made the difference when the Cranes fell to Egypt after setting for Abdallah El Said.
Nicholas Wadada will have to be at his best to contain the World class Mohammed Salah.
Nicholas Wadada’s most potent weapon is his ability to drive forward with blistering pace and the fearlessness he always exhibits when put under pressure. Wadada will have to be at his best to contain the Egyptian Messi.
Farouk Miya Vs Ahmed Eissa Elmohammed
Uganda’s biggest source of hope lies on the young shoulders of Farouk Miya. He has always delivered when called upon, he scored the all important goal that helped seal qualification for the Cranes after 38 years of continental absence. He however comes into this game with no match fitness due to lack of playing time at Belgian side Standard Liege.
Farouk Miya is Uganda’s go to man, the nation’s biggest hope for goals.
His direct opponent Ahmed El Mohammed has started every game for Aston Villa in England and he is John Terry’s new defensive partner after signing from Hull City. His calmness and aerial prowess will be a great plus for the Pharaohs. He has 2 winners medals for Egypt at AFCON and he is among the most senior members of Hector Cuper’s team.
Miya will need to negotiate with Elmohamedy’s experience and gigantic physiche if he is to have a bright day.
Khalid Aucho Vs Mohammed El Neny
Uganda’s biggest handicap is the fact that most of its most trusted generals are not playing for their clubs, before Basena summoned his squad, Aucho was found undergoing trials at Scottish side Dundee FC but on a good day Aucho has the ability to boss any midfield on the continent.
Aucho verses El Neny will be one of the most contested battles
Arsenal’s El Neny comes into this game low on confidence after the gunners fell to 2 defeats in the opening weeks of the English premier league. El Neny is regarded among the continent’s best midfielders, he has got a superb range of passing, he wins the balls in midfield and he also has the ability to play box to box.
Isaac Muleme Vs Ramathan Sobhi.
Muleme seems to have won the battle to start in number 3 after Ochaya being pushed to midfield and the decline in form of Godfrey Walusimbi. He is the most in form among all the left full backs at the disposal of Moses Basena. He was an integral figure KCCA FC’s tittle defence and their CAF competitions adventure. The diminutive full back stood strong in Kigali when most of his teammates had given in to the Rwandese early onslaught.
Muleme is destined to start at left back for the Cranes on Thursday
Muleme is destined to take charge of one of Africa’s brightest youngsters in Ramathan Sobhi. The Stoke City winger stands at 6 feet 2 inches, he combines his style of play with dribbling, clinical passing, vision, an eye for goal and he is dubbed the heir to Mohammed Aboutrika.