The national football team, the Uganda Cranes will face Mali on Monday as they battle for the Group E top position in the FIFA 2022 Qatar World Cup Qualifiers at St. Mary’s stadium in Kitende.
Uganda will enter Monday’s clash against Mali knowing that they are joint second in Group E with Kenya with only one point after their goalless draw in Nairobi last week. A win against Mali could put Uganda in the top position depending on the result of Rwanda’s tie against Kenya. Mali defeated Rwanda 1-0 in their first game of the group.
Uganda Cranes, which used a defensive approach in their last encounter against Kenya will be facing a more offensive side in Mali. This raises many questions as to how the Uganda Cranes Head Coach, Milutin “Micho” Sredojević will approach the game to stop the West African based team.
Unfortunately, Uganda Cranes suffered two substitutions in their game against Kenya on Thursday. Skipper Emmanuel Okwi and Halid Lwaliwa were stretchered off injured before the break. Both players missed the team’s training session that was held on Saturday at Kitende.
According to Micho, the players will undergo their final fitness test later today to confirm their position in Monday’s game.
While addressing journalists during a pre-match press conference, team captain Emma Okwi, said that the away point they got from their game against Kenya was very crucial and hope to build from that to secure a victory using the home advantage.
Micho” Sredojević said his side needs a positive result in Mali’s match unlike any other game if they are to keep their world cup dreams alive.
Micho cautioned players to accept the reality that Namboole cannot be used apparently and embrace the new stadium if they are to register good performance.
This follows numerous concerns about the artificial turf at St Mary’s Stadium Kitende, which saw the players sustain injuries in their last match against Burkina Faso in AFCON qualifiers.
Uganda will have to raise their spirits if they are to overcome a resilient Malian side, which has already registered their first win in Group E. In their last two engagements, the two games ended 1-1 draw in African Nations Championship in 2016 and a 2-2 draw in the 2017 Afcon finals.