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WORLD CUP QUALIFIERS: Uganda Cranes target flying start against Kenya


David GOMBE 

The Uganda Cranes will kick off their World Cup qualifying campaign in a group E away game to neighbours Kenya on Thursday evening at Nyayo Stadium in Nairobi.

New Cranes head coach Milutin Sredojevic “Micho” who guided the nation to the 2017 AFCON finals to end the 38 year wait will be seeking to become the first tactician to lead Uganda to the global showpiece.

Uganda is winless in their last four matches after losing to Malawi and drawing with Burkina Faso in the final games of the AFCON qualification campaign, the Cranes have also lost South Africa and Ethiopia in the friendly games.

In fact, Uganda lost two games on the road only registering a single point during the 2021 AFCON qualification campaign.

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This will be the 76th meeting between the two East African Nations, previously Uganda has managed 30 wins, Kenya 22 and 23 have ended in stalemates.

The last four contests between the two sides have ended in draws.

The Cranes will also be seeking to avenge against the neighbours who denied them a ticket to the 2012 AFCON after a barren draw on October 8th, 2011 at Mandela National Stadium.

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Kenya under the stewardship of coach Jacob Ghost Mulee will be aiming for a perfect start at home as they renew their rivalry with Uganda.

They will be without inspiration skipper Victor Wanyama, Ayub Timbe and Joash Onyango.

In their absence, Michael Olunga is expected to inspire the nation to much needed points at the empty Nyayo Stadium.

Without Denis Onyango who retired from international football earlier this year, Micho’s beleaguered troops will look at custodian Ismail Watenga and captain Emmanuel Arnold Okwi.

The Cranes will miss the services of foreign based players Farouk Miya, Kizito Luwagga, Bevis Mugabi, Allan Okello and Edrisa Lubega who were not summoned.

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After the trip to Kenya, Micho’s charges will host Mali on 6th September at St.Mary’s Stadium in Kitende while the Harambee stars are to face Rwanda.

Mali kicked off their campaign with a 2-0 win over Rwanda 2-0 on Wednesday.

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