Uganda Cranes brace for Mali test in international friendly

Uganda Cranes' players train at Stade du 26 Mars Bamako in Mali on Wednesday, October 11, 2023

Bamako, (MALI): Uganda’s National Football Team, the Uganda Cranes are gearing up for an international friendly against Mali on Friday, 13th October in Bamako, Mali. 

Tomorrow’s match marks the beginning of a new era for the Cranes under interim coach Morley Byekwaso who replaced Milutin Sredojevic ‘Micho’ following the latter’s departure in late September. 

The Cranes’ under Micho narrowly missed out on qualifying for the 2024 Africa Cup of Nations finishing third in Group F, a point behind second-placed Tanzania, with Algeria topping the group. 

As the search for a new head coach is ongoing, the country’s football governing body (FUFA) has embarked on utilizing the upcoming international window by arranging a friendly match against Mali.

Uganda Cranes’ players train at Stade du 26 Mars Bamako in Mali on Wednesday, October 11, 2023

Friday’s international fixture will take place at the Stade du 26 Mars in Bamako, Mali at 22:00hrs (EAT).

The match will be a meaningful encounter for the Cranes who last faced Mali during the group stages of the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers.

In their previous meetings, the first match ended in a goalless draw at Kitende, while the return leg hosted in Agadir, Morocco, saw Mali secure a 1-0 victory thanks to Kalifah Coulibaly’s strike.

Byekwaso, the interim head coach of the Uganda Cranes expressed his commitment to building a strong team that can compete at an international level.

“Our target is to build a strong team that will play in the World Cup and AFCON,” said Byekwaso.
“We shall work together as the technical team together with the boys to see that we build a strong team,” he added.

The former KCCA FC boss further expressed confidence in the performance of the players who have been selected for the upcoming international matches. 

Uganda Cranes players training at Stade du 26 Mars Bamako

Byekwaso believes that those who have been actively playing and have gained experience from travelling for league matches will be capable of performing well.

“Those who are travelled proved that they are capable of performing well. Their fitness levels are not bad because most of them have been active in the league so we expect a decent performance from them.

“The preparations have been so good. We have seen the boys exhibiting positivity and doing their best. So I believe they are geared up to perform as expected,” he concluded.

The Cranes’ contingent safely arrived in Bamako on Wednesday and conducted a training session at the Stade du 26 Mars in preparation for their friendly against the hosts.

After the friendly against Mali, Uganda Cranes will head to Dubai, United Arab Emirates, where they will face Zambia on October 17th. 

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