FIFA WCQ2022: Uganda Cranes target better show against Mali

Like his coach, captain Emmanuel Okwi said although they give respect to the West Africans, the boys are ready to fight on and are up to the task.


The Uganda Cranes November 12, 2020 beat the Bright Stars of South Sudan 1-0 in a group B 2021 Afcon qualifying game that took place at the St Mary’s stadium in Kitende.

Defender Halid Lwaliwa scored the goal in the 84th minute to give Uganda the victory.


However, since then, the Cranes are yet to register a win from any competitive game.

After losing 1-0 to South Sudan in the return leg that was played in Nairobi, Kenya, Uganda drew 0-0 with Burkina Faso (home) and suffered a 1-0 defeat to Malawi (away) in their final qualifier. This meant failure to appear in the Africa cup of nations finals for a the third time in a row.

In the Fifa 2022 qualifiers, the Cranes kicked off the campaign four days ago with a goalless draw against neighbors Kenya.

And as the team returns to action against Mali on Monday (today), the new coach in charge Serbian Milutin’Micho’ Sredojevic is hopeful his side will leave Kitende smiling.

“I do not want to talk about the game against Kenya including the hardships we had there but we have looked at the wrongdoings and rectified them as we prepare for tomorrow.”

“Mali is one of the most hardworking teams in Africa, we shall have to outwork, outplay and outscore them and I am optimistic the boys are ready.” Micho told a press conference on Sunday.

Mali National Team|Internet.

Meeting for the fifth time, the two countries last met in Gabon during a group D game in the AFCON 2017 finals at Stade De Oyam. The match ended 1-1.

Having beaten Rwanda 1-0 in their first game, Mali leads the standings in group E while Uganda sits third with just a point picked off Harambee Stars in Nyayo last Thursday. Kenya is second on two points and Rwanda leads from bottom will a point.

Coach Micho (L) and his captain Emmanuel Okwi during a press briefing at Fufa House in Mengo on September 5, 2021| Fufa Media.

“Our opponents won the game [against Rwanda] but it was expected because they have had good preparation.”

“They totally outplayed Rwanda but we have analysed all the details, we have to work hard to match them,” Micho noted.

Like his coach, captain Emmanuel Okwi said although they give respect to the West Africans, the boys are ready to fight on and are up to the task.

“When you look at everyone in camp, it is clear that their mindset is intact with the target being maximum points,” Okwi said on Sunday.

“The game will be one of pressure and huge expectations but we are fine with that.”

“The point we earned against Kenya was very crucial for us and we shall build on that when we take on Mali who are by all means a very good side,” he added.

Mali arrived in the country on Sunday aboard a chartered flight with a 54 man contingent.

Fufa Image.

Uganda Cranes players in Camp:

Goalkeepers: Charles Lukwago, Isma Watenga, Joel Mutakubwa

Outfield players: Denis Iguma, Isaac Muleme, Halid Lwaliwa, Murushid Juuko, Khalid Aucho, Bobosi Byaruhanga, Moses Waiswa Ndohondi, Milton Karisa, Emmanuel Arnold Okwi (Captain), Joseph Benson Ochaya, Innocent Wafula Esimu, Gavin Kizito Mugweri, Abdul Aziizi Kayondo, Ibrahim Orit, Richard Basangwa, Steven Desse Mukwala, Derrick Nsibambi, Yunus Sentamu, Mustapha Kizza, Enock Walusimbi, Shafik Kuchi Kagimu, Martin Kizza, Kenneth Semakula