Total AFCON finals 2019
Egypt 1-0 Zimbabwe
DRC vs Uganda, 5:30pm
Nigeria vs Burundi, 8pm
Guinea vs Madagascar, 11pm
Captain Denis Masinde Onyango believes team work will be key for Uganda Cranes during the 2019 Total AFCON finals in Egypt.
The Cranes open the campaign against Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) this Saturday at the Cairo International stadium.
The Mamelodi Sundowns goalkeeper also believes that camping in Abu Dhabi for long has enabled players know each other very well.
“We have been in camp longer than any other team and I believe we must work together as a team to achieve results especially in the opening game against Congo. We have no individuals like Salah and Mane to carry the team thus we must work as a unit to get points before we meet Egypt,” noted the 34 year old, who believes that the opening result will define Uganda’s tournament.
The continent’s best goalkeeper was the assistant to Geoffrey Massa (retired) during the 2017 AFCON finals in Gabon.
“To get as far as we can, we need to get the best use of the team quality. Football is a team sport; you can not win a game when you are playing individual football. Our goal is to go past the group stages,” added the former SC Villa custodian.
Uganda Cranes Head Coach Sebastien Desabre revealed that Uganda will take risks with ‘winning football’ against DRC.
“Our ambitions are so high. And to win you have to take some risks. I have told my boys to play with confidence and take some risks while attacking. To win you must score which comes with taking risks, noted Desabre, whose main objective is to help the team to perform better in this year’s Afcon and leave a mark in the competition. Cranes played two pre-Afcon friendlies against Turkmenistan and Ivory Coast, registering a barren draw and a 1-0 win respectively. It is the 7th time that Uganda plays AFCON finals with their best performance coming in 1978 when they lost to Ghana in the final.
DRC rooting for Uganda victory
DRC on the other hand are two-time champions (1968, 1974) and Head Coach Jean-Florent Ikwange Ibengé is eager to show that DRC football is on the rise.
“We are in a fair group even if we have to play Egypt at home and in front of their fans. The key for us is to start well against Uganda before playing the host nation. We have all our chances and I think that to go as far as possible,” Ibenge told CAF Online.
Whereas the Cranes topped Group L of the qualifiers, the Leopards qualified as runners up in Group G, 2 points behind Zimbawe. After DRC, Uganda faces Zimbawe on June 26 before playing hosts Egypt on June 30 in the final Group stage fixture.
Cranes squad and jersey numbers:
Denis Onyango (18), Jamal Salim Magoola (19), Robert Odongkara (1), Murushid Jjuuko(4), Bevis Mugabi (5), Isaac Muleme (20), Hassan Wasswa Mawanda (16), Wakiro Nico Wadada (14), Joseph Benson Ochaya (2), Timothy Denis Awany (3), Godfrey Walusimbi (15), Ronald Mukiibi (12), William Kizito Luwagga (10), Khalid Aucho (8), Mike Azira (23), Faruku Miya (17), Tadeo Lwanga (6), Allan Kateregga (13), Lumala Abdu (22), Emmanuel Arnold Okwi (7), Patrick Henry Kaddu (9), Derrick Nsibambi (11) and Allan Kyambadde (21).
DR Congo’s full squad:
Goalkeepers: Parfait Mandanda (Dinamo Bucharest, Romania), Anthony Mossi (Chiasso FC, Switzerland), Ley Matampi Vumi (Al Ansar Club Medina, Saudi Arabia)
Defenders: Djuma Shabani and Glody Ngonda Muzinga (both AS Vita Club), Issama Mpeko (TP Mazembe), Christian Luyindama Nekadio (Galatasaray, Turkey), Arthur Masuaku (West Ham, England), Wilfred Moke Abro (MKA Ankaragucu, Turkey), Marcel Tisserand (Wolfsburg, Germany), Merveille Bope Bokadi (Standard Liege, Belgium), Beaudrick Ungenda (Primeiro Do Agosto, Angola)
Midfielders: Chadrac Akolo (Stuttgart, Germany), Paul-Jose Mpoku (Standard Liege, Belgium), Chancel Mbemba Mangulu (Porto, Portugal), Tresor Mputu (TP Mazembe), Youssouf Mulumbu (Kilmarnock, Scotland), Jacques Maghoma (Birmingham City, England)
Forwards: Britt Assombalonga (Middlesbrough, England), Cederic Bakambu (Beijing Guoan, China), Yannick Bolasie (Everton, England), Jonathan Bolingi Mpangi (Antwerp, Belgium), Elia Lina Meschack (TP Mazembe).