Since the group draws for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) were made on April 12, the perceived calculation of what The Cranes need to do, when they get to Egypt, is to win at least one group game.
It is presumed this would be enough for The Cranes to make it to the last-16. The Cranes are in group ‘A’ along- side Egypt, DR Congo and Zimbabwe.
However, is it plausible that Cranes can emerge from that group? Coach Sebastien Desabre told The Observer after the draws that this is an open group, with all four teams in it, having equal chances of making it to the next stage.
“It is a difficult group. But this is what Afcon is all about,” Desabre said.
However, beating Zimbabwe, who most people perceive as the weaklings because of their low Fifa ranking (102), compared to Uganda’s 79, remains hard. Zimbabwe beat Uganda 2-0 in their last meeting in June 2016.
Besides, at the 2017 Afcon, Zimbabwe scored four goals in the group stages despite being knocked out from a group that had Tunisia, Algeria and Senegal. Zimbabwe is an attacking side, that scored nine and conceded four goals to top their qualification group ahead of DR Congo, Liberia and Congo-Brazzaville.
As for DR Congo, The Cranes last played them in 2004, in a 2006 World Cup qualifier, which Uganda lost 0-4. Former Cranes defender Timothy Batabaire said: “If we pick a result in our first game against DR Congo, it will set us up nicely for a good tournament.”
Another former international, Paul Mukatabala, The Cranes can match any of these teams, because of the good team spirit and unity built over time. On the other hand, Collin Subika, a football fan, intimated that he is a bit afraid for The Cranes.
Subika said the other teams have more quality than The Cranes across, particularly in attack. In addition, the lack of activity among several foreign-based Cranes players in recent months, puts Uganda at a disadvantage.
From a competitive point of view, Subika is not confident of The Cranes prospects this June in Egypt, following the draw.