ANNABA – Uganda Cranes’ Coach Milutin Micho Sredojević claims that the national team will today, treat its fixture against Senegal at the on-going African Nations Championship – Chan competition in Algeria as the final.
The Cranes, who played to a goalless draw in their group B opening game against DR Congo on Saturday, have a mountain hill task in today’s encounter against Senegal – who top the table on maximum points snatched from Ivory Coast through a late Moussa Ndiaye goal.
Micho who claimed that his side performed well in holding DR Congo to a scoreless draw, has only a single option of deploying a sharp front line – that is eager to hunt for goals to avoid a sixth consecutive group stage exit in this competition.
Senegal coach Pape Thiaw focused on the physical characteristics of Uganda stating he had watched The Cranes’ draw against DR Congo and recognised that his team would be facing an aggressive foe. Thiaw said that nothing was accomplished yet despite starting with a victory and emphasised that his charges would need to fight for second balls due to Uganda’s direct style of play.
The scorer from last match, Ndiaye also mentioned Uganda’s physical style but remarked that the Senegalese team were prepared because they are familiar with physical play from their domestic competition.
Despite having his penalty kicked saved in the opening match, Senegal playmaker Lamine Camara was the key player to watch for the Lions. The 19-year-old Génération Foot star created the match winner with an excellent free kick that went off the post for Ndiaye to finish and forms an excellent partnership with the deep-lying Ousmane Kane. Striker Cheikh Diouf will look to improve on his performance against Ivory Coast and is among the young stars in the squad eager to make an impression.
Uganda have qualified for the last six Chan’s including the current edition but The Cranes have failed to progress to the knockout stage in all their last appearances.
Coach Micho had high-praise for his team’s performance in the draw against DR Congo but has been obsessing over Wednesday’s duel, commenting: “I want to turn our dreams into reality as small details will give us perfect results. We will treat the game (against Senegal as a final……)”
“Our target is to do better than the previous editions and that means qualifying to the knockout stage. We know the opponents we shall be facing but the determination within us will get the team over the line.”
The Cranes enjoyed excellent performances from fullbacks James Begisa and Derrick Ndahiro, who will need to keep the wings secure again. The defence was impressive in general from Uganda with centre backs Geoffrey Wasswa and Gift Fred making things difficult for the talented Congolese front line but the Cranes attack struggled to make an impact.
Captain Milton Karisa needs to show his quality as he seeks his first goal in his fifth Chan appearance after featuring for Uganda in the 2018 and 2020 editions. 17-year-old prodigy Travis Mutyaba and Nelson Senkatuka could be in line for more minutes after coming on as late substitutes against DR Congo.