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Cranes brace for Tunis test

The Cranes start their three-match international build-up with a friendly game against Tunisia today, as they continue preps for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) due January 17 in Gabon, reports JOHN VIANNEY NSIMBE.

The last competitive game between Uganda and Tunisia happened in 1999, with a 2-0 loss to the former at Nakivubo stadium. This result came right on the back of a 6-0 hammering of Uganda by Tunisia at the El-Menza stadium.

It is at that same stadium, that Cranes will be facing Tunisia, amidst a lot of emotion, considering the history Cranes has facing Tunisia there. For Cranes goalkeeping coach Fred Kajoba, this moment will evoke some nasty memories like the fact that he was in goal during the 0-6 loss.

However, for the current crop of Cranes players, it will be an opportunity for them to test themselves against opposition from the Maghreb, to whom they have not enjoyed much success in the past. Since the 2000 Afcon qualifiers, Uganda has not faced North African opposition.

READY: Cranes players train in Tunisia yesterday

And with Egypt pitted against Uganda at the Afcon in group ‘D’, a match-up with Tunisia is what coach Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojevic believes will best psychologically prepare his charges. Known for their nimbleness and trickery, the North African teams are hard to contend with.

But a result for The Cranes will boost confidence, hence putting them in a position, where they can match teams of similar ilk. Notably, since Micho became Cranes coach, he has led his team five times against opposition from North Africa, but lost all.

That is proof of how bogey sides, they are to Uganda. Yet, each time in the past, Micho has not had his best team available to him.

First-choice goalkeeper Denis Onyango was left behind to fully recover from a hamstring injury and be ready for Cranes’ opener at the Afcon against Ghana on January 17.

Wednesday@4:30pm:
Tunisia v Uganda Cranes

jovi@observer.ug

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