Kampala — Cranes striker Farouk Miya is confident Uganda Cranes will build on their strong start to the 2018 World Cup qualifiers despite recent changes to the team’s coaching staff.
Speaking to FIFA.com, Miya said the departure of coach Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojevic and arrival of Moses Basena in the past month will not change the team’s resolve to build on their recent successes. Micho moved to South African Club Orlando Pirates.
“Both coaches know the players and know how we play. I do not think there will be much of a difference and I certainly do not think that the team will be weaker as a result of our coach leaving,” he said.
After an away draw and home win, Uganda are second in Group E behind Egypt, and are the only African side not to have conceded a goal so far in their World Cup qualifying campaign. Uganda has played four, won three, drawn one, lost none; goals scored are five, goals conceded none.
Farouk Miya is joint-top scorer in Africa’s World Cup qualifiers so far with four of Uganda’s five goals scored in the qualifying phase, and two matches of the group phase. While all eyes are on him to lead the attack Thursday against Egypt, Miya is confident the team has many match winners.
“There is no star player in our team. That makes our team so strong. It is the unity that binds us and moulds us into a team,” he told FIFA.com.
“As a team, we grew stronger when we beat Togo (qualifying phase). They have already played at the World Cup and we gained in confidence when we advanced at their expense. Even when we were drawn into the same group as Egypt and Ghana, not to forget Congo, we still believed that we could go through to the World Cup.”
The Egyptians flew in on Tuesday night aboard Nile Air, with a team comprising 15 foreign-based players.
For his final 25-man squad, Egypt coach Hector Cuper also has Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah and Arsenal’s Elneny. They are expected to have a feel of the pitch at the Mandela National Stadium Wednesday afternoon.
Essam El-Hadary (Taawoun, KSA), Sherif Ekrami (Ahly), Ahmed El-Shennawy (Zamalek).
Ahmed Elmohamady (Aston Villa, England), Mohamed Abdel-Shafi (Ahly Jeddah, KSA), Ahmed Hegazi (West Bromwich, England), Omar Gaber (Basel, Switzerland), Karim Hafiz (Lens, France), Saad Samir (Ahly), Rami Rabia (Ahly), Ahmed Fathi (Ahly), Mohamed Fathi (Ismaily).
Mohamed Elneny (Arsenal, England), Mahmoud “Trezeguet” Hassan (Kasimpasa, Turkey), Sam Morsi (Wigan, England), Ramadan Sobhi (Stoke City, England), Tarek Hamed (Zamalek), Hossam Ashour (Ahly), Abdallah El-Said (Ahly), Saleh Gomaa (Ahly).
Mohamed Salah (Liverpool, England), Ahmed Koka (Sporting Braga, Portugal), Amr Gamal (Bivest Witts, South Africa), Mahmoud “Kahraba” Abdel-Moneim (Ittihad Jeddah, Saudi Arabia), Hossam Hassan (Smouha).
Dennis Onyango (Mamelodi Sundowns, South Africa), Robert Odongkara (St George, Ethiopia), Ismail Watenga (Vipers), Benjamin Ochan (KCCA)
Nico Wakiro Wadada (Vipers), Isaac Muleme (KCCA), Timothy Dennis Awany (KCCA), Murushid Juuko (Simba, Tanzania), Bernard Muwanga (SC Villa Jogoo), Geofrey ‘Jajja Walu’ Walusimbi (Gor Mahia, Kenya), Dennis Iguma (Al Ahed, Lebanon), Paul Musamali (KCCA), Isaac Isinde (Buildcon, Zambia)
Aucho Khalid (Unattached), Geofrey ‘Baba’ Kizito (Than Quảng Ninh, Vietnam), Ivan ‘Kojja’ Ntege (Township Rollers, Botswana), Muzamiru Mutyaba (KCCA), Moses Waiswa (Vipers), Shafiq Kagimu (URA), William Luwagga Kizito (CSM Politehnica Iași, Romania), Wasswa Hassan Mawanda (Njimeh Lebanon), Joseph Ochaya (Lusaka Dynamos, Zambia)
Derrick Nsibambi (KCCA), Geofrey Sserunkuma (Buildcon, Zambia), Emmanuel Okwi (Simba, Tanzania), Milton Karisa (Vipers), Faruku Miya (Standard Liege, Belgium).