Home Football Cranes, Eagles take battle to Agadir

Cranes, Eagles take battle to Agadir

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The two nations drew 0-0 in September. (PHOTO/Courtesy)

FIFA World Cup Qualifiers
Mali vs Uganda
Stade d’Agadir
Sunday, 14-11-2021 @7pm

The Uganda Cranes will be hoping to take care of Mali in their final 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifier, on Sunday evening.

Uganda drew 1-1 with Kenya in their last game one that saw them give a poor account of them selves on both ends of the pitch as they conceded chances for fan yet they barely hurt the Amavuubi Stars’ defence.

It was a contest that clearly indicated Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojevic’s side has not learned from their previous mistakes as they took a cautious approach in a must-win encounter.

The draw left them four points behind leaders Mali with just three (points) more to play for, literally ending their hopes of reaching the final phase of qualification.

The Cranes only chance now sits on Kenya’s case with FIFA and whether their East African neighbours can be banned and the Amavubi Stars results nullified.

That would mean that Mali and Uganda are on seven points each and the game in Agadir has importance all the sudden.

Even in that case, Uganda would need to beat Mali on Sunday to top group E as the latter has a better goal difference. On evidence of the football showcased by the two sides so far, it would take some performance from the Cranes who have been struggling to create chances.

For head coach Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojevic, he is confident his side can finish on a high.

“After a long journey, we take on Mali in our final game. It is an important game for us and hope we get the result we want. Micho said.

“The players are ready to play despite only 72 hours after playing on Thursday. After the game on artificial turf in Kitende, we expect to make some rotations in the team to hand rests to players who are tired and play those who are fresh.

“Our target to finish strongly and if we have any elements of calculation, we put our selves in a good situation.”

Uganda starts the day in second position, a point behind the leaders Mali.

Mali are top of proceedings with 13 points following their 3-0 victory over Rwanda on Thursday.

The win was their fourth in the group having taken care of the same side on match-day one and beating Kenya home and away.

The Eagles players reportedly did not train on Saturday, striking over unpaid bonuses and some threatened to boycott Sunday’s game.

However, news coming in fron camp indicates that the situation will be resolved by game time on Sunday.

If they pick up a point against Uganda, no matter what happens in the Kenya case with FIFA, Mali will progress to the next phase of qualification.

Mali have no major absentees for the game as they picked up no injures or suspensions in the win over Rwanda. The Eagles are expected to field the same team that eased past the Amavubi Stars.

Uganda will be without the duo of defender Timothy Awanyi and striker Yunus Ssentamu who have accumulated two yellow cards in the campaign so far. Micho and his technical team are expected to ring the changes with Ismail Watenga, Halid Lwaliwa, Allan Okello and Ibrahim Orit all expected to start.

This will be just the fourth competitive meeting between the two sides. All of the first three have ended in draws, one at the 2017 AFCON, the other in CHAN 2016 and in September’s World Cup qualifier.

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