Cranes gather in prayer after Thursday's training session
EC Village Verification
Cranes gather in prayer after Thursday's training session
Cranes gather in prayer after Thursday’s training session (courtesy photo)

AFCON 2017 QUALIFIER:

Uganda v Botswana

Saturday: 4pm

Stories Continues after ad

Venue: Namboole Stadium

Charges: 20,000/- (Ordinary), 50,000/-(VIP) and 120,000/- (VVIP)

Uganda Cranes embark on another Africa Nations Cup qualification campaign with optimism seeking to break a 38-year jinx at the continental showpiece.

Coach Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojevic believes his charges have learnt from the past failed and hopes for strong statement as Cranes face Botswana in the 2017AFCON qualifier at Namboole stadium tomorrow, Saturday.

“It was a fine preparation. Gambia was a good test but we missed several chances to score in the first half. We will have to adjust in order to fulfill our target.” Micho noted.

The mood in camp is one of buoyancy while local fans expect nothing short of three precious points to act as a springboard for qualification before The Cranes travel to minnows Comoros in September.

Of the 13 qualification groups, The Cranes wouldn’t have asked for a better draw having avoided the continent’s big boys from West Africa as well as our serial tormentors from North Africa.

The task at hand is also quite simple unlike the previous complex campaigns; Uganda only needs to top the four-team group that also includes Burkina Faso and be assured of a berth to Gabon.

Even in the worst-case scenario, there is a slim chance of scooping one of the two extra slots for the best second-placed teams.

In all respects, this seems to be the best chance in years. Yet we have been in such a position before.

So, as his charges prepare for the Botswana Zebras, the task is to ensure future assessments of this campaign do not conclude with an autopsy.

The Cranes have often won at Namboole but lacked the required consistency and have always been a point or a goal short qualification.

Botswana players go through drills at Lugogo on Thursday
Botswana players go through drills at Lugogo on Thursday (courtesy photo)

Botswana Zebras’ national team head coach, Peter Butler is worried of the Uganda Cranes physicality.

“Uganda is a great team which plays a very physical and high tempo game”Butler told the media on Thursday after the team’s training session at the Phillip Omondi Stadium, Lugogo.

“We (Botswana) have new players on board and we are on a developmental trend,” he added.