By Thomas Odongo
Uganda will make its second straight Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) appearance during this year’s final due in June in Egypt. Uganda who is from the CECAFA region is seeded in Group A alongside hosts Egypt, neighboring DR Congo and Zimbabwe. This is the biggest continental football event and this time around 24 teams will vie for honors. It is also the first to be held in Europe’s summer season as opposed to the previous editions that were held in January and February.
Uganda head into the do as probable underdogs for their group rivals and hosts, Egypt who will be making their 25th appearance ever since their debut in 1957 are hot favorites for they are one of the most successful teams in Africa. Egypt has won seven continental titles and also harbors Liverpool forward and African footballer of the year 2018 Mohammad Salah. Uganda has no title and will be banking on Mamelodi Sundowns custodian and Cranes skipper Denis Onyango. Egypt remains Uganda’s nightmare and partly ended their FIFA World Cup dreams during the qualification for the Russian showpiece.
Dubbed Pharaohs, Egypt is also remembered for posting a 15-0 defeat to Indonesian side Laos in November 1963. DR Congo who also lies on Uganda’s way past group stage qualification has won two titles. Ranked 46th by FIFA, Congo harbors English Premier League star Yannick Bolassie. Uganda has a fair head to head record against Congo, winning three, drawing one but losing four.
However, this year’s show piece will be a different testament all together. Zimbabwe Warriors seem to be Uganda’s only soft spot. Zimbabwe is ranked number 110 by FIFA compared to Uganda - 82nd. Meanwhile, two of the three tournament debutants - Madagascar and Burundi - are in Group B with Nigeria and Guinea. Senegal, Algeria, Kenya, and Tanzania are in Group C while Morocco, Cote d'Ivoire, South Africa, and Namibia are in Group D. while Tunisia, Mali, Mauritania, Angola are in Group E. Defending champions Cameroon is in Group F with Ghana, Benin, and Guinea-Bissau. The tournament kicks off on 19th June and winds up a month later, on 19th July 2019. TOTAL AFCON 2019 FINALS Groups: A: Egypt, DR Congo, Uganda, Zimbabwe B: Nigeria, Guinea, Madagascar, Burundi C: Senegal, Algeria, Kenya, Tanzania D: Morocco, Cote D’Voire, South Africa, Namibia E: Tunisia, Mali, Mauritania, Angola F: Cameroon, Ghana, Benin, Guinea Bissau