Following the completion of the draw for the Total Energies Africa Cup of Nations Qualifiers Cote D’Ivoire’ 2023, Uganda like other countries learnt who her opponents are.
In the draw held on Tuesday, April 19, 2022 in Johannesburg, South Africa, the Uganda Cranes were drawn to Group F alongside 2019 champions Algeria, Niger and neighbors Tanzania.
After the draw, Milutin Sredojevic alias Micho,the head coach of the senior national football team spoke to Fufa media and gave his assessment on what lies ahead of the Cranes qualification campaign.
Micho opinionated that the Cecafa big boys were drawn in one of trickiest groups.
“The long wait is finally over. I personally believe we are in a competitive group and one of the strongest groups,” said the Serbian.
He added; “Both Niger and Tanzania have had representatives in the group stages of the CAF Club competitions this season while Algeria were winners of Africa Cup of Nations in 2019 and recent winners of the FIFA Arab Cup.”
Mr Milutin Sredojevic also observed that although “someone would look at Algeria as group favorites but in modern football there are no small teams because gaps in African football have been reduced.”
For the three Nations pose different challenges,Micho noted that each game will be approached differently.
“We are facing teams with different approaches including two Francophone countries in Algeria and Niger then CECAFA opponent in Tanzania. Algeria have had disappointments recently not making it out of the group stage at the last Africa Cup of Nations and conceding a late goal to miss out on qualifying for the World Cup. So these Qualifiers will be a chance to redeem themselves,” he told www.fufa.co.ug.
“Niger is a team with so many players abroad and very competitive. They have been to three of the last five Africa Cup of Nations editions. So many Ugandans would welcome the chance of playing Tanzania but it is a tricky opponent. They will have two teams in CAF Champions League next season, Simba FC is still doing well in CAF Confederation Cup and they have good players abroad. In the 2019 Qualifiers, we only got one point from Tanzania and therefore we need to respect them.” He added.
The man who guided Uganda to the Gabon 2017 finals after spending close to four decades without taking part has now urged all stakeholders to do their part. This, he said will help the Cranes achieve the target of making it to Ivory coast.
“I’m calling upon every stakeholder, all the technical people and all of us in FUFA to have good organization and detailed strategic plan on how we shall approach these games. I’m also calling upon the players who are the producers of results that this is the chance to show that you have what it takes to go back to the Africa Cup of Nations.”
CAF said it will release the fixtures soon for the qualifiers that kick off in June this year.