By Watchdog reporter
Uganda Cranes’ started their preparations for the 2017 Caf-Total Africa Cup of Nations with a 2-0 loss to Tunisia . Prior to Wednesday’s game at the El Menzha Olympic Stadium, the fifth meeting between the two countries, (in Afcon and Afcon Qualifiers) Uganda had lost all four encounters, scoring just once and conceding 14 goal along the way.
That not so impressive statistic was maintained with two early goals – either half – from Lahmar Hamza (sixth minute) and Yacoubi Mohamed, two minutes into the second half.
Both goals came off set pieces.
Cranes had their chance through a midfielder Tonny Mawejje 30-minute effort that grazed the up right while substitute Muzamiru Mutyaba saw his header comer off the cross bar.
Captain Godfrey Massa’s wait for an international goal in over a year continues although he picked up a booking.
Coach Micho, who named a strong squad was in bouyant mood ahead of the game, claiming the Uganda Cranes players had arrived in a very good shape.
“It is time for the boys to show their mantle. It will be a very tough and great opportunity for us to try to stop them (Tunisians) and try to learn a few things from them in relation to our opponents.”
The opponents in question are former champions, Egypt, who like Tunisia have not lost a game against Cranes. Egypt, Ghana, Mali and Uganda are in Group D.
“I think it’s important for us and for them to try to win and try to stop them and bring confidence ahead of AFCON finals. We shall play our own game with a lot of consciousness on their technical and tactical abilities.”
Uganda now will turn sights on two other friendlies – Slovakia on Jan 8 and Ivory Coast on Jan 11- ahead of their first Afcon 2017 game against Ghana on January 17.
Micho was set to announce the final 23-man squad for the finals later in the evening.
Denis Onyango, Robert Odongkara, Benjamin Ochan, Salim Jamal, Denis Guma, Nicholas Wadada, Joseph Ochaya, Murushid Juuko, Shafiq Batambuze, Godfrey Walusimbi, Isaac Isinde, Hassan Wasswa, Timothy Awanyi, Mike Azira, Tonny Mawejje, Geoffrey Kizito, Kizito Luwagga, Moses Oloya, Muzamir Mutyaba, Khalid Aucho, Geoffrey Massa, Idris Lubega, Muhammad Shaban, Geoffrey Serunkuma, Yunus Sentamu, Farouk Miya