Uganda Cranes have been pitted in a thrilling group E at the second round of the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification campaign.
The Cranes will face top seed Mali and neighbours Kenya Harambee Stars and Rwanda Amavubi Stars.
These will be played over six match-days, from 23 March 2020 to 12 October 2021 as a road map for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar where a total of five slots in the final tournament are available for CAF teams.
The draw was held on Tuesday night in the Egyptian capital of Cairo.
Uganda will seek to top the group and qualify for the next round, where all the ten group winners will be drawn into five two-legged knockout series to be played in November 2021.
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Mali is the toughest of the lot but Uganda’s relief will come by the fact that Les Aigles (The Eagles) have never played at the World Cup.
The Cranes and Mali’s last two meetings have all ended up in draws; the teams finished 1-1 and 2-2 at AFCON (2017) and CHAN (2016) respectively.
However, match-ups for the Cranes against neighbors Rwanda and Kenya will provide a big headache for new coach Jonathan Mckinstry.
AFCON winners Algeria are drawn in group A with Burkina Faso, Niger and Djibouti. Group D has two Africa powerhouses in Cameroon and Ivory Coast.
Group F that houses Egypt, Gabon, Libya and Angola is the outright group of death. Neighbours Tanzania and DR Congo are in Group J alongside Benin and Madagascar.