LIVE: Uganda v Egypt | World Cup – Qualification | August 31st 2017
World Cup Qualifiers Third round
Thursday, August 31, 9:00 AM ET (Canada-USA) | 15:00 Cairo Local Time
Mandela National Stadium, Kampala, Uganda
The Pharaohs face the Cranes away from home on Thursday before hosting them in Alexandria five days later, hoping to build on a convincing start to their Group E campaign that saw them bag maximum six points from two matches against outsiders Congo and heavyweights Ghana.
With Ghana also stumbling in a surprise opening draw at home to Uganda, who have four points, Egypt are aware that two wins over Uganda will put them within touching distance of a place at the Russia finals for the first time since 1990.
Should Egypt fulfill this target, they will secure their World Cup place if they beat Congo at home in October regardless of other results in the group and before they meet Ghana in Kumasi in their last match.
Uganda were taken by surprise last month after coach Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojevic, who turned around their fortunes and helped them qualify for their first African Cup of Nations in 39 years at the Gabon finals earlier this year, terminated his contract over unpaid wages.
But Cuper insisted Egypt should take nothing for granted, saying a 1-0 group-stage victory over Uganda at the Nations Cup will have no bearing on Thursday’s encounter.
“We are fully aware of the importance of those two matches,” the Argentinean boss, who was on the verge of steering Egypt to the Nations Cup title only to lose to Cameroon in the final, told a news conference previewing the anticipated clash.
“The chances are open and there are no such things as easy games. The last game we played against Uganda was complicated despite our victory but I trust my team and we picked the best players to do our best and win both games.”
There are no injury worries in the Uganda Cranes camp and bar midfielder William Luwagga Kizito who was yet to arrive; all the summoned players are in camp.
For Egypt, defender Ali Gabr and Al-Taawoun’s Mostafa Fathi suffered an injury and didn’t travel with the rest of the teammates.
Uganda Cranes has never played at the FIFA World Cup finals, Egypt has only appeared at the finals twice; 1934 & 1990.
Uganda Cranes has only won once in the previous 17 meetings with the Pharaohs – 5-1 in an international friendly in 1965.
Uganda’s Farouk Miya is among the five leading goal scorers in the campaign with four goals.
Egypt’s top scorer in the campaign so far is Mohamed Salah with just two goals
Man to watch
Emmanuel Okwi – The Simba SC striker netted four times against Ruvu Shooting on Saturday and if he can carry that form into Namboole on Thursday, then Uganda will have a reason to be optimistic.
Mohamed Salah – He is currently among the most in form players in the English Premier League with Liverpool and if he is in the mood at Namboole, expect a tough afternoon for the Cranes defender.
LIVE: Uganda v Egypt | World Cup – Qualification
Time: 9:00 AM ET (Canada-USA) | 15:00 Cairo Local Time