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AFCON: Uganda Sports Journalists, Experts Predict Overall Winner And Cranes’ Chances

Nigeria's national football team players hold the trophy as they celebrate winning the 2013 African Cup of Nations final against Burkina Faso on February 10, 2013 at Soccer City stadium in Johannesburg. AFP PHOTO / ISSOUF SANOGO (Photo credit should read ISSOUF SANOGO/AFP/Getty Images)

The stage is already set for the 32nd edition of the Africa Cup of Nations that kick off in Egypt on June 21.

The ‘dark’ continent and the world at large will have their eyes on Egypt for the next few weeks as some of the best African players meet.

Uganda Cranes is luckily among the 24 teams that will be competing for the grandest prize in the African game.

It’s easier to predict that Egypt may be champions or Denis Onyango might make the best Eleven, but what do the experts in Uganda say? When they speak, we just have to sit and listen.

The-SportsNation.com talked with some of the keen followers of the game, and here is their opinion/predictions.

Hopes of the Nation in Desabre. Observer photo

Mark Ssali (Sports Analyst, working with NTV Press Box)
Winner: Morocco
Why: Arguably the most talented and synchronised collection of all current African teams, but generally underachieving nation. This could finally be their year. Also, the conditions in Egypt should suit them more than most.
MVP: Hakim Ziyech

Mike Kigozi – Radio One and NBS/Sanyuka TV
My take is that Uganda unfortunately wont negotiate past the group stage. The Cranes seem to be in some sort of transition both in terms of playing and Coaching staff. Thats why we have players who were not part of the qualifying campaign but are involved in the finals.
And often at tournaments it helps if a team is blessed with something called ‘ fear factor’. Am not sure the Cranes have that but DR. Congo do but more so Egypt. As for MVP I go Christian Atsu of Ghana and we shall have atleast 3 joint topscorers.

Ziyech. Courtesy photo

Raul Kanyike – Daily Monitor
Winners… Senegal. They have an avalanche of good players who’ve gathered a lot of experience playing across the top leagues in the world. Their team is well balanced, and they really work hard as a unit as we saw in the 2018 World Cup.
Topscorer? Not always easy to pick tournament topscorer but I’ll go for Sadio Mane.
Uganda’s best chance to go through the group stage is if they emerge as one of the best 3rd placed team.
MVP – Mo Salah, Best Goalie – Andre Onan


Clive Kyazze – Football 256
Egypt are my outright favourite for me to win although the hunger of Senegal and Cameroon the defending champions can’t be taken for granted
I see Uganda going past the group stages, anything beyond the round of 16 will be a bonus.

Brian Tuka – Capital FM and Kwese Free Sports
Egypt for me to, home advantage will be huge for them en they have got a realy good side
Senegal if they get their game 2getha they will be a real threat.
For Uganda the first game will determine everything for them. If they lose it getting out of the group might be tricky. Though the performance more than the result will be important to.
MVP – Salah Mane.

Sadio Mane will look to carry Senegal. Courtesy photo

Ismael Kiyonga – Kawowo Sports and Akaboozi 87.9
I think Egypt are favourites to win because they are playing at home and have been together for sometime now right rom the underage teams (U23 and U20). They came close to wining in 2017 but missed out. Senegal also have the best squad around but have been unlucky in the past though I think it will be tough for them to win away from home. Morocco is another favourites because of the coach they have and quality in their team in Ziyech and a couple of other guys but just like Senegal, they always crumble at the big stage that is why I fancy Egypt.

John Batanudde – Photojournalist at Daily Monitor and Kawowo
Winners – Egypt they have 2 advantages Mohammed Salah and the home support that is going to be vital.
Cranes have no chance in progressing to the next stage.
We have a problem of scoring goals and it’s goals which will determine group winners.

Gombe David – Swift Sports
Egypt will go on to win the trophy because they are the hosts, most successful nation on the continent with 7 trophies and they have Mo Salah. I think they have also learnt from their 2-1 defeat to Cameroon in the finals two years back.
Uganda Cranes won’t advance past the group stages, i think our team is the weakest in the group.
MVP – I see Mo Salah
Top Scorer, Wilfried Bonny

Hamza Junju – Express FC CEO and Chairman Futsal Association of Uganda
Winners- Senegal
reason, strong squad technically gifted players n not reliant on Mane .
Uganda Round Two of the tournament.
Personalities hard to predict at moment.

Onana of Cameroon

Becky Cynthia Nakimera – Bukedde and Urban TV
El Shanway Egypt as best keeper because his team looks more balanced
I think Uganda will qualify on best loser
DRC is 75 percent better than us….exposure talent and physicality.
MVP – I know the world is expecting a lot from Mo Salah but i think Alex iwobi will stand out since he has not been so exhausted in premier
Top scorer – I will go Ivory Coast’s Nicholas Pepe.

Robert Wasswa – Radio Sapientia 94.4 FM
Senegal stands better chances, it’s well balanced in all departments, in 2017 they were eliminated by eventual winners Cameroon at quarters since they never won it am sure they will want to win it’s first.
Uganda won’t qualify from its group.
Top scorer – M.Salah, Goalkeeper – Andre Onana (Cameroon). MVP – Nicholas Pepe (Ivory Coast ).

All eyes on Mo Salah

Moses Magero – KCCA Head of Marketing and Public Relations
Egypt will win the Africa Cup of Nations.
They are hosts and have the home advantage and are hungry for a trophy.
For the topscorer, I will go with Mo Salah to top the Charts
MVP will be ONANA of Cameroon.
And Uganda will make the quarters.

Danito Nsubuga – Swift Sports.
Egypt are my overwhelming favourites, they have Africa’s best players and a very experienced squad that has been together for a long time. They are the competition’s most successful nation and they will be buzzing to win it on a record 8th time and at home.
For the MVP, I will definitely go with Sadio Mane. He has been in fine form for Liverpool and he is Senegal’s go to man.
I will leave out the golden boot and golden glove on purpose but if there are fee marks for attempting to answer, I will of course pick Patrick Henry Kaddu for top scorer and Denis Onyango for the golden glove.

Abbey Kitaka – Channel 44
I think egypt can win it because to me the last 4 times they have hosted the tournament they have won 3 ie 1959,1986,2006 only missed out in 1974.
Uganda – I think we can come out of the group as best losers coz uganda has always had a solid defense that can concede not more than 2. Apart from the Tanzania game I don’t recall when uganda last conceded 3.
Lastly i think mohamad salah and sadio mane according to their form one might be the top scorer

Aminah Babirye – Photojournalist
Winner – I am going for Egypt to clinch this one. They have the home advantage.
Uganda – We will go past the group stages. Our ceiling is the Round of 16.
Scorer – Sadio Mane without doubt.
MVP – Mo Salah

Mr. Safe hands. Onyango

Shaban Lubega Benteke – PML Daily
Champions: Morocco
The Atlas Lions have always under performed in the competition with their only triumph coming in Ethiopia 76.
I am going with them despite the fact that they have not reached the final since 2004, where they lost 0-1 to hosts Tunisia.
In Herve Renard, they have one of the most experienced managers in African football, one who has already won two AFCON titles before, with Zambia (2012) and Ivory Coast (2015).
Boosting one of the best squads in the competition and having a proven winner on the touch-Line, i am confident Morocco will go all the way.
Top Scorer – Khalid Boutaib (Morocco)
MVP – Hakim Ziyech (Morocco)

Amon UBC TV
I will settle for the hosts Egypt to win the trophy. Obvious reasons apart from the quality in their main man Sala, the home advantage will play a big role. Look at the way they have handled their friendly games, and the results though any can debate on this I believe they are favorites. Uganda will however make it out of the group stages a draw against DRC, win against Zimbabwe and lose against Egypt then qualify as best loser.
Sadio Mane will be the MVP of the tournament.
He misses the first game but will come out strong in the remaining games.

Joel Muyita – Writer at Kawowo Sports and Guest Analyst at FUFA FM
Morocco is my pick because they have a balanced squad and above all an experienced coach in Havre Renard.
Ziyech MVP
El Sheenaway (not sure about sp) goalkeeper of Egypt.

None is giving Cameroon a chance to defend their crown. Courtesy photo

Dzyre Drekford Mugumisa – next radio, also Head of Marketing at JKL Dolphins Sports Franchise
I’m thinking Senegal should have enough to bag this one. They have talent that has come of age all across Europe, from Koulibaly to Sarr, Gueye, Keita Baldé, Salif Sané, Sadio Mané, among others, with some sort of squad balance in place.
With Uganda, I think they’ll be good enough to get out of the group stages, as one of the best 3rd-placed teams in the tourney at worst. I wouldn’t be disappointed if they finished 3rd and didn’t go on to the knock-outs, though. It is a process.
I think Sadio Mané will be MVP.

Sarah Nabuuma Fidazanta – Keen Sports follower
Winner, of course Egypt are the favourites with home advantage. For MVP I will give it to none other than Mohammed Salah. Uganda will reach the knockout stage.

Innocent Ndawula – Daily Monitor
Egypt – I think Senegal is going to win the AFCON, they have their golden chance led by Sadio Mane. They are good for the prize. I will not write off Egypt because they are at home and are big boys. For Uganda, I think we can reach the last 16. They have been in camp for three weeks and that can be a big impetus to go forward plus the X factor talent of Abdul Lumala. If you have Africa’s finest in goal, that is the first line of defense. We can use it to attack from the back. The gist is on who will score.
Top scorer – I will give it to Mohammed Salah. He just scores goals for fan. And they best goalie is Onyago, just incomparable.

Kaddu will look to roar at the biggest stage. Courtesy photo

David Isabirye – Kawowo Sports
I will go with Egypt as winners. Home advantage and individual stars on the team with great preparations.
Quarter Finals for Uganda Cranes. Mo Salah for Top scorer and Sadio Mane for MVP.

Arnold Katabi – Channel 44, also FUBA head of Marketing.
My bet is on Senegal to win this years AFCON. I believe they have a decent team with vast experience and it will show in the way they handle Tanzania without Sadio Mane in their opening game.
I don’t think Uganda will get out of the group stages. We are just returning to the continental show piece for the second consecutive time after over 3 decades of absence. I believe we still need to get used of this stage and besides we are in a very tricky group that has the Host (Egypt) and DR Congo that have been here for a while and play some very good football.
About the top goal scorer I will go with Sadio Mane, he was impressive in the qualifiers, he has been superb for Liverpool last season and I tip him to continue with the same form.

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