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Uganda skipper Onyango: We can handle Egypt


Photo: FUFA

skipper Denis Onyango believes the Cranes can handle when they meet in the upcoming World Cup qualifying double-header.

Egypt are scheduled to face the Cranes in Kampala on Thursday before they host them in Alexandria’s Borg El-Arab Stadium on September 5.

“When we played against Egypt at the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations and lost late in the game 1-0 we kept them at bay,” Onyango told KweséESPN, “but it was evident they were holding on to the ball more than us and Salah showed high levels of trickery.

Egypt had defeated Uganda in the group stage of the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations, as Abdallah El-Said scored an 89th-minute winner to help the Pharaohs seal a vital 1-0 victory. The Pharaohs then proceeded to reach the tournament’s final where they lost 2-1 to Cameroon.

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“We can handle them,” he added. “This is World Cup qualification, and every player would love to be at the World Cup.”

The Cranes started the qualifiers well, collecting four points from their first two games as they drew with Ghana in Tamale before beating Congo 1-0 in Kampala. Record seven times African champions Egypt, who are in a bid to make their first World Cup appearance since 1900, currently top Group E on six points, two ahead of second-placed Uganda.

Meanwhile, other group opponents Ghana have only one point while Congo sit at the bottom with zero points.

“I know Egypt play more as a team [than Arsenal] but Elneny is also another individually skillful lad who has very good feet, [is good] on the ball and good going forward,” Onyango said, “but he has not been very busy since the season started.

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The Uganda keeper also said his side knows how to silence Egypt’s Mohamed Salah in the upcoming double-header. The 25-year-old Egypt international winger has impressed since joining Liverpool in the summer transfer window and has scored twice for the Reds’ so far.

“[Elneny and Salah] are very skillful players who bring lots of experience from their teams in the English Premiership and we must keep them under close watch.

“It’s going to be war in Kampala because we need the three points before we travel to Egypt.”

Uganda are currently led by interim coach Moses Bosena after the departure of Serbian coach Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojević, who guided the Cranes to the Africa Cup of Nations finals for the first time in 39 years.

Editor-in-Chief at Pursuing a master's degree in sport policy, management and international development at the University of Edinburgh.

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