Thursday, January 7
*Niger Vs Uganda – 6pm
*Cameroon Vs Zambia – 8pm
Pre-Chan mini tournament Table;
- Uganda – 4
- Niger – 4
- Cameroon – 1
- Zambia – 1
Uganda Cranes and Niger face off in Thursday’s first game on the last day of the Pre-Chan mini tournament.
Both sides come into the game after recording respective victories in their previous games and any winner will be declared champions of the four-nation tournament.
Uganda beat Zambia 2-0 thanks to Viane Ssekajugo and an own goal.
Mckinstry Says Niger Game Is Precursor For Togo
Uganda Cranes will be taking part in their fifth consecutive CHAN tournament.
The side is pooled in Group C along side neighbors Rwanda, defending Champions Morocco and Togo.
The Cranes will open their campaign against Rwanda on January 18, then Togo on January 22 before facing Morocco four days later.
Uganda Cranes head Coach Jonathan Mckinstry said that Cranes game against Niger in the pre-CHAN mini tournament is a preparation for Togo’s game.
Mckinstry believes that since Niger is a West African entity just like Togo whom they share the pool with, the game will give his squad a first understanding of the type of football to expect from Togo team when they happen to play it in real tournament.
“And now we go to Niger which is again very fast, very physical and very direct football, and unless something but i think a lot of the young boys we have in squad will not have up against before because when you think in west Africa the start direct style compared to East African style of foot ball which is quite different, so none of them will have experience,” Mckinstry said.
“So, as its trying to get them ready for that, we also remembering that tomorrow (Thursday) is preparation for Togo. So tomorrow is sort of getting their feet in the water, to speak so that they can understand that and hopefully to go and put up another top performance like we done on previous two games but the biggest aspect for tomorrow’s game is for a lot these boys getting first understanding of the type of football we can expect from the Togo team when we get it in the real tournament its self, so I think the game has a huge value just like the previous two.
Mckinstry has stated that he will make some few changes to the starting lineup.
“I think at this stage as you get closer to the tournament you can actually start holding on the players you think are going to play more minutes so we are going to change the team. I think probably we will see some players from the first game coming back into the lineup but equally there will be some players from the game against Zambia retaining their place.”
“We are just trying to get the combination correct but also understanding that, its not about having 10 or 11 players, we need to make sure that if we get injuries, if we get suspensions or getting fatigue throughout CHAN, we will able to make replacements and the players coming in are comfortable at taking those positions on the team”
Uganda Cranes – Tom Ikara, Ashraf Mandela, Aziz Kayondo, Patrick Mbowa, Mustafa Mujuzi, Karim Watambala, Hassan Ssenyonjo, Ibrahim Orit, Ben Ocen, Shaban Muhammed, Joseph Ssemujju.
Niger Wants To Take One More Step
Niger wants to take one more step from their previous best in CHAN.
They are in Group B alongside Libya, DR Congo and Congo Brazzaville.
Their best performance was in 2011 when they reached the Quarter final.
The 2-1 victory against Cameroon has given this team more confidence and they have started to dream.
Team coach Harouna Doula, before he set foot in Cameroon says that they want to replicate the 2011 performance.
“We need to be able to do at least what we could do in 2011. It is first of all to be able to go beyond the group stage, and possibly try to raise the bar a little higher,” he is quoted in Niger press.
“Our pool is the pool of Champions because there are three titles in this pool. But that said, from the knowledge of our adversaries, we worked on these aspects to make everyone understand that the task that awaits us will not be easy and that we should really find the necessary resources to repeat our feat of Sudan.”
Before thinking about their group in CHAN tournament proper, Niger has the Uganda Cranes hurdle to sort out first.
They were on their way for the loss against Zambia when they trailed 3-1 but recovered to pick a point which set the ball rolling for the subsequent win over Cameroon.
Against Uganda, they face a country that has the same spirit and it promises to be a pulsating affair.
Niger is expected to make changes in the starting lineup and give minutes to the players who are yet to play.
Niger – Issaka Oumarou, Hamidou Ali, Nasser Garba, Seyni Razack, Adodo Anani Tonou, Lawali Souleymane, Kimba Koudize, Darankoum Moumouni, Mamouda Dodo Idi, Halidou Idrissa, Amadou Djibou Kader
*The last meeting between the sides came in a 2018 friendly with hosts Niger running away 2-1 winners – Nicholas Wadada scored Uganda’s consolation.
*Uganda’s last win against Niger was on May 31, 2008 – The side won 1-0 thanks to Ibrahim Ssekagya goal
Head To Head
*08 Oct 2006: Niger 0-0 Uganda (Africa Cup of Nations Qualifiers)
*08 Sep 2007: Uganda 3-1 Niger (Africa Cup of Nations Qualifiers)
*31 May 2008: Uganda 1-0 Niger (FIFA World Cup Qualifiers)
*07 Sep 2008: Niger 3-1 Uganda (FIFA World Cup)
*02 Sep 2014: Niger 2-0 Uganda (International Friendly)
*02 Jun 2018: Niger 2-1 Uganda (International Friendly)