5 September 2017

Uganda/Egypt: Uganda Cranes Will Not Suffer From Stage Fright, Says Basena

Photo: Eddie Chicco/Daily Monitor
Uganda’s Miya, left, will face Egypt’s Hegazy at Borg El Arab stadium tonight.

Alexandria, Egypt — Facing Egypt was a daunting prospect for generations of Ugandan football players and fans until last Thursday's 2018 World Cup qualifying game at Namboole.

That Emmanuel Okwi goal in a 1-0 victory over the Pharaohs more than let Uganda Cranes break from a 52-year captivity without beating the North Africans.

It also put Cranes at the forefront of the fight for the lone slot at the global showpiece in Russia lead the four-team group with seven points, one better that the two-time World Cup finalists.

Ghana would then draw 1-all with Congo Brazzaville for a tally of two and one point respectively after three games to ensure that group E could as well be a shootout between Uganda and Egypt.

Okwi's 51st minute strike against legendary goalkeeper Esam El Hadary set back Egypt's hopes and made today's return encounter at the Borg Al Arab stadium in Alexandria a must-win for the hosts.

"The game in Kampala is over and out of the way. We now face another difficult situation. They are going to throw everything at us including their fans. There won't be stage fright," Cranes' interim coach Moses Basena told Daily Monitor.

"(Going to the World Cup,) is the reason we entered this competition. We are not here for fun or to make up numbers. Let's see what happens, every team takes care of its own games," he added.

A win or draw will keep Cranes at the summit. To maintain that, Cranes, the only team across the six Fifa confederations yet to concede a goal, will bank on that defence.

"Be sure, there won't be fear. We will give it our best to maintain the position we have earned," captain Denis Onyango promised.

His South African side Mamelodi Sundowns won the Caf Champions League here last year, beating Egypt's Zamalek and that intuition will be important as Uganda lost 6-0 on the last visit in 1995.

Pharaohs' coach, Argentine Hector Cuper has promised changes in personnel among those dropping 44-year old Hadary whom many here claim is struggling with niggles from last week's game.

Liverpool ace Mohammed Salah is expected to put up a big performance as should Arsenal midfielder Mohammed ElNeny for the record seven-time African champions who have been to the World Cup twice.

"With big teams you always expect a reaction. Big players will give a reaction because they have the ability," Basena commented.

His confidence is perhaps driven by Cranes' recent away record that has seen the team win two of the last five games in Africa Cup of Nations and World Cup qualifiers.

"We are an away team. Our game arrangement will show that.

The most important thing is our concentration levels have to be good from the first to the last whistle," the 52-year old noted.

This is the last of the four games Basena and his deputy Fred Kajoba, for whom former skipper Ibrahim Sekagya has been added, was given in his interim tenure.

Uganda XI

Denis Onyango (GK)

Nico Wakiro Wadada

Godfrey Walusimbi

Isaac Isinde

Murushid Juuko

Wasswa Hassan Mawanda

Khalid Aucho

Emmanuel Arnold Okwi

Faruku Miya

Derrick Nsibambi

Joseph Benson Ochaya

Egypt XI

Ahmed Sherif (GK)

Ibrahim Ahmed

Ahmed Hegazy

Rabia Ramy

Abouzeid Mohamed

Tarek Hamed

Mohamed Elneny

Saleh Saleh

Mohamed Salah

Hassan Mohmoud

Soliman Mohmoud

GROUP E GAMES TONIGHT

2018 WORLD CUP QUALIFIERS

5:30PM

Congo Brazzaville vs Ghana

9PM

Egypt vs Uganda

More on This

Onyango 'Feels' Good to Return to Borg Al Arab

The Borg Al Arab stadium in the Egyptian coastal town of Alexandria is one that holds great importance in the career of… Read more »

Copyright © 2017 The Monitor. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 800 reports a day from more than 140 news organizations and over 500 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.