Wednesday, March 24
*Uganda Vs Burkina Faso, 4pm
*South Sudan Vs Malawi
Uganda Cranes will be targeting maximum points when they host Burkina Faso on Wednesday at St Mary’s Stadium in Kitende on Match-day five of the 2021 AFCON Qualifiers.
After picking three out of possible six points from the South Sudan doubleheader, Uganda’s hopes were dented as they slipped to second place.
It was such a poor performance that the side needed a late Halid Lwaliwa header to win at Kitende before falling to Tito Okello goal in the return leg played in Kenya.
The Cranes surely owe fans a better show and will have to do everything in their own means to squeeze out a decent result and keep their qualification hopes alive.
The Cranes will however have to do it without Jonathan Mckinstry who was asked to step aside following recent poor results, and it will be Abdallah Mubiru on the wheel.
The preparations have been overshadowed by the dismissal of midfielder Khalid Aucho for misconduct, though he was not going to face Burkina Faso due to his red card suspension.
Uche Ikpeazu and Bevis Mugabi pulled out to leave Coach Mubiru with a team selection headache while Ronald Mukiibi and Lumala Abdul struggled through the trainings with injuries.
In addition, the gaffer has not been able to have a full squad at his disposal for a full training session.
The Israel trio of Fahad Bayo, Timothy Awany and Kizito Luwagga have not trained with the team and are likely to miss out of the Match-day squad.
Without home fans, Cranes will bank on the fact that they managed to hold Burkina Faso on the road in their first group game.
Key Player – Emmanuel Okwi: He has been in the national team fold since 2011 and played at the last AFCON, notably scoring two goals in the group stages. He features for Al Ittihad where he has scored one goal in eight league games this season. He will be integ for the Cranes going forward and his calmness inside the box will be key if Cranes are to have a chance against the Burkinabes.
Uganda Cranes Probable Lineup – Denis Onyango, Nicholas Wadada, Joseph Ochaya, Murushid Juuko, Halid Lwaliwa, Taddeo Lwanga, Mike Azira, Moses Waiswa, Farouk Miya, Patrick Kaddu, Emmanuel Okwi.
How Good Is Burkina Faso?
The Stallions are one of African powerhouse yet to win the Africa Cup of Nations.
They came closest in 2013 in South Africa, inspired by Jonathan Pitriopa to finish second after falling 1-0 to Nigeria in the final.
They will be more hungrier to return to the continental stage after missing out on 2019 AFCON in Egypt.
They had a slow start when they were held by the Cranes 0-0 in their first Group B game but made amends with a 2-1 hard fought win over South Sudan thanks to an Aristide Bance brace.
A 3-1 home win and a subsequent goalless draw over Malawi in the doubleheader propelled them atop of the group with eight points.
On a positive note, even a loss against Uganda on Wednesday will not dent their chances but will still have the ball in their own hands with a home game against South Sudan.
However, they are not taking any chances, a win will all but seal their place in Cameroon.
Coach Kamou Malo called up Ahmed Belem and Soumaila Ouattara after the duo impressed at CHAN but he will be banking on his foreign based contingent to stun the Cranes at home.
Like any West African side, Burkina Faso players are well built, skilled and athletic.
Key Player: Bertrand Traore – The forward plies his trade with English Premier League side Aston Villa. He has scored five goals in the league for the Villains this season, only Ollie Watkins has scored more for the club. He comes with a bag of experience having scored his first goal in 2013 and was part of the Burkinabe squad that scooped bronze in 2017 AFCON, notably scoring in a 2-0 win over Guinea Bissau in the tourney. His cousin brother Lassina Traore and captain Charles Kabore who will be making his 100th international appearance, will be the other go to players.
Burkina Faso Probable Lineup: Aboubacar Sawadogo, Issa Kabore, Yacouba Coulibaly, Patrick Malo, Issoufou Dayo, Adama Guira, Bryan Dabo, Cyrille Bayala, Zakaria Sanogo, Lassina Traore, Bernard Traore.
How To Watch – Azam TV OB van is already at St Mary’s Kitende to do the game’s Production. Uganda Broadcasting Corporation (UBC) will broadcast the game live, as well as Bein Sport.
FUFA FM is among the radio stations to do commentary.
You can as well follow The SportsNation pages for live updates and a comprehensive match report and reactions after the game.
September 4, 2004: *Burkina Faso 2-0 Uganda (World Cup Qualifiers)
October 8, 2005
*Uganda 2-2 Burkina Faso (World Cup Qualifiers)
August 29, 2006
*Uganda 0-0 Burkina Faso (Friendly)
May 26, 2016
*Burkina Faso 1-0 Uganda (AFCON Qualifiers)
May 29, 2016
*Uganda 0-0 Burkina Faso (AFCON Qualifiers)
November 13, 2019
*Burkina Faso 0-0 Uganda (AFCON Qualifiers)