By Daniels N. Tatya
They are prepared but worried that history might just repeat itself for Uganda’s national football. Today, Uganda Cranes might be talking current FIFA rankings as strong winning point but professional football proves otherwise. Any rank can beat your superior rank.
Too, the team could be chest-thumping for a superior table position. Hell no, 2012 proved a point to the Cranes with the team failing to qualify at the hands of Kenya. They could be discussing home advantage but, too, it’s not any big issue, for Cranes has been beaten, held and lost at home to visiting country teams.
So, the point going into this Thursday’s World Cup qualifier game is getting prepared cautiously as the team engages East African rivals Kenya at St. Mary’s Stadium Kitende. That Kenya Harambee Stars game against Uganda Cranes in AFCON encounter in 2011 and its fateful results (0-0) are fresh in Cranes` minds.
On the pitch, the players, on the touchline and bench, the technical staff and the fans on the other side do reminisces about a draw that cost the team-Cranes a spot at the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations in front of a fans full to capacity Namboole.
Save for playing for honour of their fixture, Kenya had already known their qualification fate and they simply had no mission. It was only to spoil Cranes qualification party and the hopes were finally dented home.
That Uganda and Kenya are playing again at an international stage with Cranes harboring some not clear hopes is to renew the rivalry between the two neighbors. Just like it was in 2011, Kenya is out of the race. The other group E member Rwanda is also out of the race for the Qatar 2022 World Cup.
This leaves group leaders Mali and Uganda to tussle it out for the only playoff permit. Since the heartbreaking draw at Namboole that denied Uganda a 2012 Afcon slot, Kenya returns to Uganda this Thursday for a qualification campaign of similar stature.
Talking rankings, Uganda has an upper chance given their superior FIFA ranking currently. Uganda is ranked 82nd compared to Kenya’s inferior 104 rank according to the 2021 October 21st released rankings. It’s not yet over until it’s over and therefore Cranes have reason to worry as they host Harambee Stars on Thursday.
Current 82 (21 October 2021)
Highest 62 (January 2016)
Lowest 152 (July 2002)
Current 104 (21 October 2021)
Highest 68 (December 2008)
Lowest 137 (July 2007)
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