KAMPALA: Uganda today opens its 2019 Africa Cup of Nations campaign against DR Congo in the Group A clash at the Cairo International Stadium. The Cranes will be competing in successive Afcon tournaments for the first time since the 1978 (seventh time in total) while DR Congo will be competing for a 19th time.
Coach Sebastien Desabre could rely on play-maker Farouk Miya as one of the men up front in a 4-4-2 formation. The 21-year-old has 22 goals in 59 appearances for the Cranes – on course to break Massa’s goal scoring record for the national team.
Cranes’ captain and Goalkeeper Denis Onyango together with an organised Ugandan defence kept five cleans sheets in the six games in the qualification campaign. They conceded just three goals and that was to Tanzania after confirming the qualification.
Cedric Bakambu is expected to lead the Congo line – evidenced by his 23 Chinese Super League goals in 27 games for Beijing Guoan. He is likely to be joined in attack by former Crystal palace winger Yannick Bolasie. West Ham’s Arthur Masuaku will be another man to watch.
There have been just three previous matches involving DR. Congo and Uganda with Uganda leading the head to head by two wins to one.
DR Congo played out a 1-1 draw against Kenya in an International friendly last time out while Uganda defeated Ivory Coast 1-0 in Abu Dhabi courtesy of a Miya Farouk penalty.
Key Opta facts;
This is the first encounter between DR Congo and Uganda in the Africa Cup of Nations.
This is DR Congo’s 19th AFCON participation. They have won the tournament twice (1968 as Congo-Kinshasa, 1974 as Zaire) but haven’t reached the final since 1974, when the tournament was played in Egypt.
DR Congo are unbeaten in their last nine group games at AFCON, although seven of those have been draws (W2).
Uganda have lost 14 of their 19 games at AFCON (W3 D2). Their three wins all came in the 1978 edition when they reached the final against Ghana (0-2).
Uganda have kept only one clean sheet in their 19 AFCON games. It was in a 3-0 win against Morocco in March 1978.
Uganda: Onyango (C), Bevis, Juuko, Hassan Wasswa, Walusimbi, Aucho, Azira, Miya, Okwi, Lumala, Kaddu.
DR Congo: Matampi (GK), Masuaku, Tisserand, Luyindama, Mpeko, Mulumbu (C), Mbemba, Bolasie, Mabi, Mpoku, Bakambu.