CHAN 2022: Uganda Cranes Face DR Congo Hurdle in Opening Tie

Uganda Cranes will face a tough hurdle when they face the Democratic Republic of Congo national team in a Group B match at the on-going TotalEnergies African Nations Championship (CHAN) 2022 in Algeria.

The competition strictly for players featuring in domestic Leagues in their respective countries kicked off on Friday with hosts Algeria stopping Libya 1-0.

Uganda Cranes that has had a poor run at the previous CHAN tournaments having failed to progress to the knockout stage in all their five previous appearances will be all out to try and break the jinx.  

The Cranes will look to improve their goal-scoring rate, which has been relatively low, scoring only eleven goals and conceding 25 in fifteen games so far, and winning only one game in five editions of the CHAN tournament. 

However, despite facing two time former CHAN champions DR Congo in the opening match in Annaba, head Uganda Cranes coach Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojevic and his team captain Milton Karisa sounded confident in the pre-match press conference on Friday. The two sounded determined, putting the past behind them and focusing on a new challenge.

Micho believes that the three weeks of solid preparations that had training sessions at home and later three test matches in Tunisia against Sudan, Cameroon, and Mali must have made an impact on his team and they have something to prove.

He explains that the team is mentally strong having been together for nearly a month which gives them an advantage ahead of the DR Congo clash.

Aside from having enough preparations, Micho prides himself on his experience as a manager with Uganda Cranes, gunning for his third championship at the helm of the Cranes after coaching the squad in 2014 and 2016.

Skipper Karisa also made it clear that they will come to the game well aware of their team’s dreadful history at the tournament and are ready to rewrite the narrative.

Meanwhile, at least eight players in the current squad, including Karisa, Moses Waiswa, and striker Nelson Senkatuuka, will be returning to CHAN for the second time, having participated in at least one of the previous editions, and Karisa believes this gives them an advantage because of the extensive experience. 

Uganda Cranes is in group B alongside Senegal, Ivory Coast and DR Congo. After playing DR Congo today, Uganda Cranes will then take on Senegal on the 18th of January 2022 and battle Ivory Coast, four days later.  

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