Africa: Pharaohs, Cranes Go for Top Slot

Cairo — Uganda will add to their own piece of history today if they see out Group A successfully to confirm their last 16 feat in a maiden 24-team Africa Nations Cup tournament.

The Cranes face hosts Egypt at Cairo International Stadium tonight in so good a stead they can even lose and still progress.

Coach Sebastien Desabre's men have four points from their victory over DRC and stalemate with Zimbabwe, and trail tonight's opponents by two.

Whoever finishes top of the six groups will land fairer match-ups in the last 16, with second and best four third placed teams favoured pickings of pool winners. So topping Group A will be Desabre and Egypt coach Javier Aguirre's target although the Pharaohs go into this as huge favourites.

They have beaten Zimbabwe and DRC to become one of the first teams to progress.

Yet, Egypt do not even have to beat Uganda to wrap the group top, just like the Cranes do not have to defeat Egypt to confirm their last 16 slot.

But the Cranes must beat Egypt if they to top the group and avoid more heavyweights in the knockout stage. "I know it will be difficult game," admitted Uganda's talisman Farouk Miya, "They are good team and as hosts they will be having a lot of fans but our focus is to win the game."

Miya will be charged with supplying Patrick Kaddu and Emmanuel Okwi - scorers of Uganda's three goals so far - and linking with Mike Azira and Khalid Aucho in the middle.

Cranes skipper Denis Onyango and his defence, which was wobbly against Zimbabwe, will have to be at their best again if they are to keep Mohamed Salah and Ahmed Trezeguet quiet.

Group A projections indicate that the runner-up will face the second team in Group C, which is likely to be Senegal.

Group B winner, likely to be Nigeria, will then face the third best team either in Group A, C or D.

Algeria, who will top Group B, will take on the third best team in Group A, B or F.

The winner of Group A will face the third team in Group C, D or E. The knockout stage starts on July 5.

Uganda and Egypt have faced off most recently three times, the Cranes losing twice and winning once.

Elsewhere, Zimbabwe and DRC face off with each side hanging in there for a place among the best four third placed teams.

Uganda Cranes probable XI:

Denis Onyango (Goalkeeper, Captain),

Bevis Mugabi, Godfrey Walusimbi, Ronald

Mukiibi, Hassan Wasswa, Michael Azira,

Emmanuel Okwi, Khalid Aucho, Faruku

Miya, Patrick Henry Kaddu, Abdu Lumala.

Coach: Sebastien Desabre

TOTAL AFRICA CUP OF NATIONS

Egypt vs. Uganda, 10pm

Zimbabwe vs. DRC, 10pm

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