Uganda Cranes starts preps for Kenya, Mali World Cup qualifiers

Uganda Cranes players battle with Kenya in the recent fixture

KAMPALA, UGANDA: Uganda’s National Football team The Cranes has intensified preparations for World Cup qualifiers against Kenya and Mali this month.

Uganda Cranes will host Kenya on November 11, 2021, at St Mary’s Stadium Kitende before visiting Mali on November 14. The journey started with a buildup game against the Northern region select team which was won by the National tea, 3-1 thanks to goals by Ibrahim Orit, KCCA forward Rogers Mato and URA captain Shafik Kagimu.

The squad of local-based players, currently camped at Cranes Paradise Hotel in Kisaasi, was this morning boosted by the arrival of two foreign-based goalkeepers Mathias Kigonya and Chares Lukwago. The team will have another build-up game today against Uganda Premier league side UPDF-FC where UPDF will be given an extra player to play against the Cranes.

The Cranes had an impeccable performance completing a doubleheader against Rwanda, Putting the team in the second position in Group E with eight points, two points below the table leaders Mali. To reach the playoffs, the Cranes will need to have two victories in the two ties ahead of them. In their first engagements, Uganda registered two goalless draws against Kenya and Mali.

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According to the qualifiers’ format, the team that finishes top of the group will advance to the playoffs round. Ten teams that top all their respective groups will be drawn into five home-and-away playoff ties. The winners of each fixture will advance to the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

Cranes Coach Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojevic says they are training hard for their first clash against neighbours Kenya because it will determine their stay in the race for world cup qualifiers.

Micho adds that they made technical changes in the team after completing the games against Rwanda, and he believes his players have received exposure after playing several games in their respective clubs.

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