The 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) will see Uganda Cranes and Tanzania’s Taifa Stars playing two qualifying matches. This, however, may not necessarily be the end of the road as both teams are acutely aware that they could be the turning point.
Algeria is currently topping Group F with six points and Niger on two, leaving the East African teams with one point each. The top two automatically qualify for Ivory Coast 2023.
Algeria and Niger will also be facing off as the Cranes and Taifa Stars battle it out at Ismailia in Egypt. This is all thanks to a Caf ban on substandard stadiums in Uganda, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania respectively.
Victory for Algeria in both matches would move the Desert Foxes to 12 points. However, a miracle for Niger would spread the group wide open.
Coaches Micho Sredojevic of Uganda and Adel Amrouche of Tanzania will not be banking on good fortunes from the Algeria-Niger clashes. They know they must do their homework against each other to keep matters in their own hands.
Cranes players including Joseph Ochaya, Steven Mukwala, Gavin Kizito and captain Emmanuel Okwi have all emphasized the importance of these two clashes against the Taifa Stars.
They have all noted how “difficult the derby” is. They have, however, gone on to emphasize that they are confident the cranes will prevail over the Taifa Stars this Friday in Egypt and four days later in Dar es Salaam.
It is the same vibes in the Tanzanian camp, who will draw inspiration from the 2019 Afcon qualifiers. This was when they drew goalless in Kampala and thrashed an already-qualified Uganda 3-0 in Dar es Salaam.
Both Uganda and Tanzania are looking to return to Afcon finals for the first time since the 2019 edition in Egypt.
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