Uganda Senior Men’s National Football Team has been drawn in Group F of the TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations Qualifiers Cote D’Ivoire 2023.
According to the draw held on Tuesday, 19 2022, Uganda Cranes will face Algeria, Niger, and neighbors Tanzania.
Algeria has won the title twice with the last coming three years ago in Egypt.
This will be the first time Uganda is facing the North African giants in AFCON Qualifiers since 1999.
For neighbors Tanzania, the most recent competitive engagement came on the road to qualifying for AFCON 2019 where Uganda emerged as table leaders in the group that also had Cape Verde and Lesotho.
The most recent encounter against Niger, the other Group F opponent, came in 2018 in a friendly match that the West African Nation won 2-1.
However, the most memorable game against Niger for Uganda was in the 2008 AFCON Qualifiers when the latter won 3-0 at Mandela National Stadium courtesy of David Obua’s hattrick.
The Qualifiers for the 2023 edition that will be hosted in Ivory Coast are expected to get underway in June this year.
CAF will release the fixtures and exact dates later.
Commenting on the draws, Cranes coach Milutin Sredojevic aka Micho noted that the team is pooled in one of the toughest groups in the qualifying phase.
“The long wait is finally over. I personally believe we are in a competitive group and one of the strongest groups. Both Niger and Tanzania have had representatives in the group stages of the CAF Club competitions this season while Algeria were winners of Africa Cup of Nations in 2019 and recent winners of the FIFA Arab Cup,” he stated.
“Someone would look at Algeria as group favorites but in modern football, there are no small teams because gaps in African football have been reduced,” he added.
Micho said Cranes is facing teams with different approaches including two Francophone countries in Algeria and Niger and then a CECAFA opponent in Tanzania.
“Algeria has had disappointments recently not making it out of the group stage at the last Africa Cup of Nations and conceding a late goal to miss out on qualifying for the World Cup. So, these Qualifiers will be a chance to redeem themselves,” Micho stated.
“Niger is a team with so many players abroad and very competitive. They have been to three of the last five Africa Cup of Nations editions. So many Ugandans would welcome the chance of playing Tanzania but it is a tricky opponent. They will have two teams in CAF Champions League next season. Simba FC is still doing well in CAF Confederation Cup and they have good players abroad. In the 2019 Qualifiers, we only got one point from Tanzania and therefore we need to respect them,” he explained.
Micho who was at the helm as Uganda qualified for the 2017 AFCON edition in Gabon, has called upon all stakeholders to play their part in aiding the Uganda Cranes to achieve the target of returning to the continental showpiece.
Total Energies AFCON Cote D’Ivoire Qualifiers 2023