ANNABA – Two key players have been ruled out of The Cranes’ final squad at African Nations Championship-Chan competition set to start this Friday in Algiers – Algeria. Uganda plays DR Congo at 7:00pm in their first group B fixture. The second game will come on Wednesday against Senegal – winding up on January 22 in a tie pitting Ivory Coast.
But in all the plans defensive midfielder Siraj Sentamu and midfielder Najib Yiga were ruled out – as Coach Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojević named the final squad.
The duo was part of the team’s build-up games in Tunisia in ahead of the tournament reserved for local players of the respective participating nations.
While Coach Micho might get Yiga’s replacement from the available squad without much difficulty, Sentamu’s replacement seem tricky for the Serbian tactician considering the team’s dearth of defensive midfielders.
Despite admitting that the absence of the two players was a major blow to the team, Micho is still confident that the available players had prepared well for the competition.
During their stay in Tunisia, the team completed three build-up games against Cameroon, Sudan, and Mali in preparation for Chan but failed to earn maximum points in any of these games. The team scored three goals – conceding a same number.
Their first game ended in a two-all tie against Sudan; followed by a one-all draw against Cameroon and a 0-0 draw with Mali in a dull match on Sunday. This is however a mere a continuation of a persistent problem of conceding many goals and scoring less, which has for a long time hindered Uganda’s advancement in international competitions, particularly in Chan, where The Cranes have never progressive past the group stages in their last five tournaments’ appearance.
Morocco to participate in the Chan
Morocco will finally participate in the African Nations Championship-Chan, a tournament that begins this Friday in Algeria.
The Atlas Lions, who are the two-time defending champions, had initially threatened not participate from the tournament – citing Algerian authorities’ refusal to allow a Moroccan plane to enter the country’s space amid a political crisis over the Western Sahara territory.
Fifa best players’ nominations
Fifa has unveiled the list of nominees for the best players and coaches of the year 2022.
Lionel Messi is the overwhelming favourite to win ‘The Best’ Fifa men’s player of the year award after the nominations were announced on Thursday.
Messi captained Argentina to glory in the 2022 World Cup final as they eventually beat France on penalties following an enthralling 3-3 draw.
PSG team-mate Kylian Mbappe, who scored a hat-trick in the game, is also on the list together with his French international team-mate Karim Benzema.
Benzema, who won the Ballon d’Or for the first time in his career in October last year, helped Real Madrid seal the Champions League following victory over Liverpool in June.
Luka Modric is also nominated alongside goal scoring Premier League duo Erling Haaland and Mohamed Salah.
Senegalese, Sadio Mané, who transferred from Liverpool to Bayern and but was absent from the World Cup, and his former teammate at the Reds, the Egyptian Mohamed Salah and Achraf Hakimi make the list from the African continent.
Other nominees include Neymar, Vinicius Jr, Julian Alvarez, Robert Lewandowski, Kevin de Bruyne and Jude Bellingham.
Cristiano Ronaldo was left off the 14-player shortlist for the annual Best Fifa Men’s Player award for the first time.
Yan Eteki’s deflected strike in the 3rd minute ensured Portuguese Primeira Liga side Casa Pia overcame third tier Vitoria Setubal 1-0 in the Taca de Portugal at the Estadio do Bonfim on Thursday.
Casa Pia will now face second tier Nacional in the quarter-finals next month
Some African goals last night in Portugal, the Indomitable Lion Yan Eteki scored a crucial goal for his club Casa Pia a setubal. The Cameroonian got his first goal since his arrival from Granada last summer. With this success Casa Pia remain 5th behind the Portuguese big teams.
Qatari African players’ performance
Al Arabi moved back to the top of the Qatar Stars League standings on Thursday, following a 2-1 win at previously unbeaten Al Wakrah.
Tunisian international Youssef Msakni opened the scoring for Al Arabi on 31minutes, but Al Wakrah equalised deep into first half stoppage time when Mohamed Benyettou converted a penalty following a foul by visiting goalkeeper Jassim Al Hail.
Msakni restored Al Arabi’s lead midway through the second half and Younes Ali’s side held on for maximum points.
They now have 22 points from their nine games so far this season ahead of Al Duhail, who beat Umm Salal 3-1 on Wednesday, by a point.
Al Wakra’s first defeat of the campaign leaves them in third, seven points off the pace, but they do have a game at hand.
Meanwhile, Youssef Msakni continued to pile up more goals. The Tunisian was the main architect of Al Arabi’s victory over Al Wakrah.
He opened the score well offset by the former Parisian, the Brazilian Rafinha
The Algerian Mohamed Benyettou later equalised on penalty before Youssef Msakni sealed a win with a fantastic goal.
He has 7 goals in 9 matches in the Qatari league.
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