Uganda Cranes play Zimbabwe in the one of the last two Group D matches. The match will be played concurrently with the other group game between Zambia and Mali at the Kigali Regional Stadium in Nyamirambo.
The game means a lot to the two countries. Zimbabwe, even though they have no chance of progressing to the last eight will only be fighting for national pride and on the other hand, Uganda has a realistic chance of making the quarter-finals in case of victory by at least two goals and Zambia overcomes Mali.
Meanwhile, the mathematical equation is kind of comical and ironical but will determine who goes through to join Zambia in the quarter final.The Cranes must beat already eliminated Warriors by at least two goals to move to four points and hope that Zambia who are already through to the last eight on six points beat Mali.
If the results go as described above then Uganda and Mali would then be tied on four points but the Cranes would progress with a one-goal advantage, the two having drawn the opener.
Ugandan coach Micho has decided to play mind games seeking to praise Zambia and sooth their egos ahead of the important game with sentiments to give them morale to act as their “messiah” when they meet Mali at Nyamirambo.
“I know Zambians are proud and honourable people ,President of their federation Kalusha Bwalya is a legend of African football and will not allow his team to go down and lose the winning mentality.
“My former player (Orlando Pirates) Isaac Chansa and my friend Christopher Katongo, who has won the Africa Cup of Nations, are also honourable and will not allow anything to go out of the line of sport”Micho said perhaps telling the Zambians not to relent and follow what happened to Rwanda and DR Congo after they were stunned in their last group matches.
“We have a date against Zimbabwe in an important match that will determine our destiny but as we all know the game will be decided after 90 minutes”he added
On the other hand Zimbabwe coach Calisto Pasuwa apologized to the nation after being knocked out from the completion describing it as a bad moment for him personally but further vowing that they will be a hard nut to crack against Uganda Cranes as they hope to go home with some dignity from what he refers to as a do or die game.
“I was personally affected when we were knocked out despite playing some brilliant football it was not expected as we came to the tournament with high hopes.I apologise to all the football fans in Zimbabwe but promise we will give Uganda Cranes a run for their money as we want to go back home with some dignity restored”
“Uganda is a very good side but we are equally on the same level so let them not expect any favours from us and I can promise we are treating the game like a do or die match as we want the three points seriously to restore our pride after losing two games”Pasuwa told supersport.com.
Meanwhile, Uganda Cranes got a boost when team captain Farouk Miya trained for the first time on Sunday since hurting his shoulder in the 2-2 draw against Mali.
“He responded well to the training but still we shall monitor situation and decide accordingly whether he will face Zimbabwe, taking in consideration the match importance but also the future as we need him in times ahead. Let us see what will happen.”Micho said.
Credits to Kawowo sports and Supersport