2023 AFCON Qualifiers – Group F
Wednesday, June 8
•Uganda Vs Niger – 4pm
•Tanzania Vs Algeria – 7pm
1. Algeria – 3
2. Tanzania – 1
3. Niger – 1
4. Uganda – 0
Uganda Cranes will seek to make amends and get their 2023 AFCON Qualification campaign back on track when they host Niger at St Mary’s Stadium in Kitende.
Milutin Micho Sredejovic’s charges failed to get off the mark with a 2-0 away loss to Algeria on June 4 at July 5 1962 Stadium in Algiers, in a performance that has since received negative criticism from the fans.
Niger, who are playing home games in Benin on the other hand, needed a Daniel Sosah equaliser to pick a point against Taifa Stars of Tanzania at the Stade de l’Amitié in Cotonou.
Tanzania and Algeria face off at the Benjamin Mkapa Stadium in Dar es Salaam in the other Group F encounter.
The top two after the teams have faced each other home and away book a ticket to the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations finals in Ivory Coast.
Micho Maintains Positivity in the Face of Adversity
Coach Micho was targeted for that loss in Algiers, with his detractors against his game approach and ‘poor’ team selection.
The selection of Gavin Kizito at right back was his biggest undoing against a far better Algerian side.
And Gavin was at the receiving end of Algerian attacks, turned down by both Youcef Belaili and Rachid Ghezzal.
Playing Farouk Miya who is without a club and last played competitive football over a year ago was also criticized after the attacker missed from the spot.
While Micho’s gamble on debutant Marvin Youngman did not pay off as the Bright Stars Midfielder failed to impress.
But Micho remains confident in his group of players, and added that the Qualification campaign for the Cranes start on Wednesday.
“I have absolute trust, confidence and belief in our players. We have gone to the deepest attention to detail in regards to theoretical awareness, what their sources of vulnerability are, how we can score the opponent and close the points of danger,” Micho told the press as quoted by FUFA media on Tuesday.
“The mental strength and spirituality of the players after the days in camp are perfect. We are fully aware of what it takes in this group and since this match is at home, we are in a situation where we want to give it all. We want to be mentally strong using the never give up approach.
“We want to get the backup of our supporters – who are player number twelve, something which played well for our opponents last weekend.”
Micho is banking on the home support and also stated that they want to continue with their never give up attitude.
The Serbian is confident that a good result will be achieved on Wednesday if the team puts up a good performance.
He however expressed a concern of fatigue after that long trip from Algeria but said that they are aware that the Niger match means a lot and there is a lot at stake.
Fahad Bayo is back in the fold having missed the trip to Niger over documentation and Israel-based striker is expected to play a big part as Cranes seek to get over the mark.
Vipers players on the team including Bobosi Byaruhanga and Milton Karisa will be playing at a familiar surface will be crucial at Kitende where Uganda has not registered enormous success as it was the case at the dilapidated Namboole Stadium.
Niger Banking On Recent History
Niger’s 2023 AFCON Campaign got off to a worst possible start when they conceded a goal in the first minute of the game in their 1-1 draw with TZ.
Goalkeeper Jan Van Attenhoven spilled a tameable cross for George Mpole to head in.
But Daniel Sosah, a player with Ghana decency, levelled matters before the half-hour mark when he swept in after the Taifa Stars failed to defend a freekick.
Despite their slow start at the ongoing campaign, Niger remain unfazed.
The Menas, as nicknamed, have been at the AFCON finals twice in 2012 and 2013, and there is some hope back at home that this is their time to return at the continental stage.
But they have a couple of challenges they must overcome in this campaign, including hosting their games away from home after their Seyni Kountche Stadium in Niamey is undergoing renovations.
They are banking on recent history with the Uganda Cranes having won the last three meetings.
The last one came in 2018 under Frenchman Sebastien Desabre, an international friendly in Niamey which the hosts won 2-1 thanks to a Zakari Victorien Adje Adebayor brace while Nicholas Wadada scored a consolation for the Cranes.
In 2008, during the World Cup Qualifiers, Niger beat Uganda 3-1 in Niamey with David Obua’s goal proving to be a consolation for the Cranes under Bobby Williamson then. Alhassane Issoufou scored twice while Kamilou Daouda was also on target.
That same Daouda was also on target, Issiakou Koudizé with the other goal as Niger beat Micho’s Cranes in 2014 in a Friendly in Niamey.
“I really believe that we have all our chances,” earlier said Niger Captain Youssouf Alio Oumarou who features for US Monastir.
“The Ugandan team and Niger, I believe that there is not a very big difference in terms of the FIFA rankings. It is a team that we have already played twice in Niger. We beat them in 2015 (2-0) and in 2018 we also beat them 2-1.”
“This year, we frankly need this qualification, we as players are all aware and made this decision to go for it and we deserve to (qualify) for this AFCON 2023.”
Coached by Jean-Michel Cavalli, the French man said after the draw was made earlier: “The most important thing will be to perform against these two teams (Uganda and Tanzania). We are disadvantaged that we are playing away from home because our home games are outside our country so it will be a little more complicated at the same time.”
It is strong to note that Niger’s success against Uganda came when they are the host, but their two visits in Uganda have both ended in Cranes wins – Obua scored a hat-trick in 3-1 win back in 2007 while Ibrahim Ssekajja was on target in a 1-0 win the following year.
Uganda – Charles Lukwago, Enock Walusimbi, Isaac Muleme, Halid Lwaliwa, Bevis Mugabi, Khalid Aucho, Bobosi Byaruhanga, Milton Karisa, Allan Okello, Fahad Bayo, Emmanuel Okwi
Niger – Van Attenhoven, Daniel Sosah, Abdoul Garba, Youssef Oumarou, Victor Adebayor, Amadou Wankoye, Ousmane Diabate, Amadou Moutari, Karim Doudou, Madjid Soumane, Rahim Alhassane
How To Watch
For those who want to go to Kitende, Tickets are sold at FUFA house at Sh10,000 and 50,000 VIP.
Watching on TV – Sanyuka TV (StarTimes) have confirmed that they will broadcast the match as they did against Algeria.
Those on Muktichoice, the match will be live on Super Sport Variety 4 (DStv) and Select 2 (Go TV).
Watching online? The streaming channels including hesgoal and Stream2watch have the match as well.
You can follow The-SportsNation social media pages for updates live from Kitende, with a comprehensive match report shortly after the final whistle and reactions from coaches and players.