31 August 2017

Uganda/Egypt: Uganda-Egypt - a Must-Win to Keep World Cup Dream Alive

Photo: Eddie Chicco/Daily Monitor
Cranes players train ahead of the Fifa World Cup qualifier against Egypt this week.

Kampala — There is still four matches before Africa's five representatives at the 2018 Fifa World Cup in Russia are known. This week is only match day three of six.

There is a near-universal feeling that group E could be decided over the next two matches starting with Uganda Cranes' home clash with seven-time African champions Egypt at Namboole today.

The Pharaohs lead the group with six points, two more than Uganda. Three-time World Cup finalists Ghana have one point while basement side Congo Brazzaville are yet to tick.

After today's game, Uganda travel to Alexandria to face Egypt next Tuesday. On the other hand, Ghana face Congo tomorrow before the return encounter in four days' time away in Brazzaville.

"We basically need to win both games against Congo," Ghana defender Jonathan Mensah said in recent interview with ESPN.

"If we don't win those two games it is over for us. We simply have to win them, because that will set us up really well for the Egypt game at home later," he added.

Having beaten Ghana 2-0 in the group opener last November, Egypt, whose last World Cup appearance was in 1990, know that two 'mega' results against Uganda will put day light between them and the pack.

For Uganda, beating Egypt is the only way to keep the World Cup dream alive even if Cranes have an unblemished road record in their last nine games.

Cranes is also the only side in Africa yet to concede a goal in this qualification campaign while Farouk Miya's leads the scoring charts with four goals, along with four other players. After today, two of Cranes' final three games are away in Egypt and Congo. Realistically, 12 points will be enough to confirm the trip to Russia.

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