5 September 2017

Uganda/Egypt: Onyango 'Feels' Good to Return to Borg Al Arab

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

Alexandria, Egypt — The Borg Al Arab stadium in the Egyptian coastal town of Alexandria is one that holds great importance in the career of Uganda Cranes captain Denis Onyango.

This is where Onyango lifted the 2016 Caf Champions League last October, overcoming Egyptian giants Zamalek.

His Mamelodi Sundowns lost 1-0 here but had beaten the five-time African champions 3-0 in the first leg in South Africa in the two-legged final.

"It feels good to return to this place," goalkeeper Onyango told a pre-match press conference after Uganda Cranes trained at the Borg Al Arab stadium for the first time on Monday night.

Uganda face Egypt at the 86,000-seater facility in the 2018 World Cup qualifiers hoping to avoid defeat so as to stay ahead of the Pharaohs in group E.

With seven points, Cranes lead the group ahead of Egypt on six with Ghana on two and Congo Brazzaville.

Only the group will go to Russia which would imply a first World Cup appearance for Uganda if they hold on to their position over the next matches.

The contest on Tuesday could also be influenced by the size of the crowd, something Onyango is aware of.

"When we played here (with Sundowns,) the crowd was very big and they can be aggressive," the 32-year old reminisced.

"But we love playing in front of such crowds. Since I have been here, I will pass on messages to my fellow players on how to deal with the crowd," he added.

Moses Basena, the Cranes interim coach, didn't sound too bothered by the size of the crowd. "As a coach, I have experienced it games between Simba and Yanga so have many of my players," Basena said.

At home, Uganda can only aggregate a little over 40,000 fans as that's the capacity of Namboole, the country's biggest sports facility.



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