The Uganda National Football team (The Cranes) has been drawn to face three African football powerhouses in arguably the hardest group ever.
Micho’s charges are in Group E with eternal rivals Ghana, Egypt who they have never beaten at senior level and new giants Congo Brazzaville for the FIFA 2018 World Cup Russia qualification round 3 which were today in Cairo.
Uganda Cranes’ first group matches will be played October 3rd just a couple of days after facing Comoros in their final 2017 African Cup of Nations qualifier at Namboole Stadium. They will end on November 14th 2017which will see the groups winners pick the five tickets reserved for the continent at the World Cup.
It is the final round of qualifying, which follows two previous knockout rounds,
Four big names were drawn together in Group B, with Cameroon, Nigeria and Algeria – who have all been at the past two World Cup finals – placed alongside 2012 Africa Cup of Nations winners Zambia.
Cameroon have appeared at the tournament seven times – more than any other African country – but have suffered in recent years and could struggle in what looks to the toughest of all the groups.
The Indomitable Lions’ last two appearances at the World Cup were a disaster. They lost all three of their group games in South Africa in 2010 and in Brazil four years later.
Algeria, the highest ranked side on the continent, were among the top seeds for the draw, with Nigeria included in the second seeds.
Morocco coach Herve Renard will come up against the side he helped to make African champions last year as he tries to steer his Morocco team past the Elephants, Gabon and Mali.
Meanwhile, neighbours Libya and Tunisia were paired in Group A. Libya’s last international match – against Morocco in June – was hosted by Tunisia because of ongoing security issues in the north African country.
To reach the group stages, Uganda Cranes produced a virtuoso performance to thrash Togo 3-0 and qualify in an exciting match played at the Nelson Mandela Stadium in November 2015.
Skipper Geoffrey Massa drew first blood with just five minutes gone with a 20 yard thunderbolt that left Djehani Gussad sprawled on the ground for Cranes’ first goal. Man of the moment Miya was on the mark again completing his brace in stoppage time after Walusimbi’s beautiful cross headed back across goal by Massa for Miya to volley home for Cranes third goal.
Uganda went to the break leading with a comfortable which they held on to the end finishing 4-0 on aggregate to qualify for the group stages.