Cranes optimistic but cautious ahead of their clash with Harambee Stars

Wednesday, September 1st, 2021 00:00 | By
Uganda Cranes players before their friendly match against Ethiopia on Sunday. Photo/PD/FILE

Visiting Uganda Cranes are optimistic ahead of their 77th meeting with Harambee Stars tomorrow at the Nyayo National Stadium.

Cranes arrived in Nairobi on Monday night ahead of the crucial 2022 Qatar World Cup Qualifier.

After mandatory Covid-19 tests, the team has been putting final touches to their preparations ahead of the crucial qualifier in a group that also has Rwanda and Mali. 

The visiting team is led by returning Serbian Coach Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojević who only late July made a return to the national team signing a three-year deal with the Ugandan Football Federation (Fufa).

Ugandans  are minus their long-serving goalkeeper and ex-captain Dennis Onyango of Mamelodi Sundowns, midfielder Michale Azira and former assistant captain Hassan Waswa Mawanda all who unceremoniously resigned in April after a fallout with Fufa.

Skipper Emmanuel Okwi is raring to go against a team they have beaten 32 times in recent times with Kenya winning 22 and 22 draws being witnessed amongst the two countries. 

Okwi who plays professional football for Egyptian side Al Ittihad Alexandria Club has warned that history will count for nothing in the Thursday contest urging his players to be alert. 

“We just need to acclimatise before the match. We respect Kenya as a good side in football but ours is to go in and perform as per directions of the technical bench. I know we will make some adjustments since our last outing was not successful,” said Okwi. 

“Overall we are ready to fight for the flag and get good results here which will be difficult,” said Okwi who was part of the team that lost 2-1 away against Ethiopia in a friendly match late last month.”

Coach Micho is looking forward to a momentous game that could well be decided by margins of error. “I know the kind of opponent we are meeting therefore we will have to be ready.”

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