Uganda Cranes Eye Historic Win Against Zimbabwe Warriors

The Zimbabwe Warriors: eNCA Photo

Uganda’s Cranes are hoping to end a 41 years knockout stage hiatus when they take on Zimbabwe Warriors as Group A enters its match-day 2. Both sides lock horns at the Cairo International Stadium on Wednesday (26 June 2019), with kickoff scheduled at 19:00 local time (17:00 GMT).

The Cranes started their group campaign with an emphatic 2-0 victory over DR Congo last Saturday, their first AFCON win since defeating Nigeria 2-1 in March 1978. Sebasien Desabre men can all but guarantee their knockout stages ticket if they managed another victory on Tuesday against Zimbabwe, who succumbed to a slim 1-0 defeat to hosts Egypt in the opening match.

Denis Onyango Ugandan teammates know their opponents will enter the match with only victory in mind if they want to revive their qualification hopes. Onyango will face an old friend in the shape of his ex Mamelodi Sundowns teammate Khama Biliat. Both were stars for “The Brazilians” when they lifted their first ever CAF Champions League trophy in 2016. Biliat went on to join domestic South African rivals Kaizer Chiefs, while Onyango is still doing his heroics for Sundowns.

Knowledge Musona of Zimbabwe during the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations Finals match between Egypt and Zimbabwe at Cairo International Stadium, Cairo, Egypt on 21 June 2019 ©Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

It’s the first time both sides lock horns together in AFCON history.

What they said

Sebastien Desabre (Coach, Uganda)

It’s a very important game for us. We are focused to have a good game and forget the first game result. We top the table now but we need to have a minimum of 4 points to qualify, Zimbabwe is a very good team and it’s not easy for us to play against them. We’re ready to give our best and I hope we can win.

We respect Zimbabwe so much but we are focused on our team. We need to correct some mistakes from the first game, we played a good game but not a perfect one and we need to improve them.

I don’t like to speak about one player, we are a united team. I respect Zimbabwe so much, they are a good team and have a good coach. It’s always difficult to play against them.

Denis Onyango (Captain, Uganda)

We are playing against a very good team and to be honest and I know 90% of their players and they are very good as we saw them against Egypt. Our target is to go through and we just think of the next game. We want to get maximum points and fight very hard to get the result we need.

We are not thinking of Egypt game because we are playing Zimbabwe now. We don’t want to overlook that because we are taking the match very serious so as to enter our last game knowing our fate.

Zimbabwe have some very good players that I know very well and that’s good for us.

Sunday Chidzambwa (Coach, Zimbabawe)

We play against Uganda who are a very good side. They defeated DR Congo and I think we have to fight hard for the entire game and I just hope we will be at our best to get a good result that will revive our qualification hopes.

Against Egypt we didn’t have many chances but we will try to do better this time. We lost against the home team and I think we had a good game. I told the players to forget about this match and start to correct our mistakes. We are not here to add numbers but we came to compete.

Ovidy Karuru (player, Zimbabwe)

This is going to be a very difficult game because Uganda is a very good side. We need to win this game at any cost because this can determine our future in the tournament. We expect a good game and I promise we will do our best and fight hard to win because we want to go to the next round. To lose our first match happens and we are focused on our next match.

Denis Onyango is Africa’s number 1 goalkeeper, he knows us well but we also know him as well.