Sports Mole provides team news, predicted lineups and a full preview of Sunday’s Africa Cup of Nations fixture between Uganda and Egypt.
Egypt face Uganda in their final game of Group A having already sealed their place in the last 16 of the Africa Cup of Nations.
However, Uganda take on the tournament hosts knowing that they still require a draw to secure their spot in the knockout stages.
Uganda have very little history of featuring in major tournaments, with their last notable achievement coming in 1978 when they finished as runners-up in this competition.
However, after a return to the tournament two years ago, the Cranes have put themselves into a position where they can potentially qualify for the last 16 for the first time in 41 years.
A surprise 2-0 triumph over DR Congo set them on their way, and a 1-1 draw against Zimbabwe has left Uganda requiring a point in Cairo this weekend.
Sebastien Desabre‘s side are huge underdogs to claim a share of the spoils against Egypt, although they can play with no pressure with Zimbabwe having to beat DR Congo in order to prevent an appearance in the next round.
The main concern for Desabre will be that his side could crumble in front of a capacity crowd, with the majority backing the tournament hosts.
Uganda have spent plenty of time in Cairo this month, but it may not aid their efforts when it comes to trying to nullify the likes of Mohamed Salah.
Desabre will be looking to Farouk Miya and Emmanuel Okwi to add to the 45 goals which they already have between them on the international stage, the latter having already netted twice in this tournament.
However, it will take a team effort to earn anything against Egypt, who will prove difficult to beat for any team at this competition.
Recent form: WD
Recent form (all competitions): LLLWWD
Egypt have been heavily backed to win this tournament for the first time in nine years given the advantage of being hosts and they have suggested – so far – that their tag of favourites is justified.
The presence of Salah in their squad will strike fear into some of the opposition, although the fact that two clean sheets have been recorded in succession may be more telling ahead of the last 16.
Few people expected anything else against Zimbabwe and a DR Congo side who had previously lost to Uganda, but there are signs that Javier Aguirre and his team are ready to meet expectations.
Each of Egypt’s three goals have come in the first half of fixtures, something which could be perceived as a positive or negative, but they have managed to see out games in efficient style.
When the tests inevitably get tougher in the coming days, there will be more onus on Salah to produce some of the form which he has delivered for Liverpool over the past two years.
The attacker could potentially rested for this game with the stakes lower than they could have been, although the 27-year-old will want to make the most of playing in his homeland.
Nevertheless, Aguirre arguably has a duty to hand playing experience to each of his squad at a time when they are also looking to develop into a team which can make an impact at the next World Cup in Qatar.
Seven of this squad have earned less than 10 caps and three are the wrong side of 33, highlighting that the Pharaohs are still going through somewhat of a transitional phase despite their current status.
Recent form: WW
Recent form (all competitions): DLWWWW
Salah is likely to find himself among the replacements for this game as Aguirre begins to look towards the knockout stages.
That could lead to a start for Walid Soliman, who has featured off the substitutes’ bench during the first two matches.
Mohamed Elneny may also be rested due to the midfielder being one yellow card away from suspension.
Uganda are expected to name the same side which began the game with Zimbabwe on Wednesday.
Uganda possible starting lineup:
Onyango; Mugabi, Wasswa, Mukiibi, Walusimbi; Azira, Aucho; Abdu, Miya, Okwi; Kaddu
Egypt possible starting lineup:
El-Shenawy; Elmohamady, Hegazi, El-Din, Ashraf; Warda, Hamed; Soliman, Said, Trezeguet; Mohsen
Head To Head
Sunday’s game will mark the 21st meeting between the nations, with Egypt claiming 15 victories in comparison to just two for Uganda.
However, while Egypt have lost just once in their last 17 matches, that defeat – by a 1-0 scoreline – came as recently as August 2017.
We say: Uganda 0-3 Egypt
Egypt have opened the tournament with two solid performances, but we expect a clinical showing against Uganda as they look to make a statement ahead of the next round. Uganda have impressed thus far, although they may struggle to keep out Salah and co in Cairo.