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CHAN 2020: Aheebwa, Lwaliwa, Kyeyune to start against Morocco

By Shafic Kiyaga
Saidi Kyeyune (16) celebrates his equaliser for Uganda against Togo | Photo Credit: FUFA Media/XtraTimeSports (Darren McKinstry)

Uganda Cranes head coach Johnathan McKinstry will make three new changes to his starting line-up, with team captain Halid Lwaliwa, Brian Aheebwa and Saidi Kyeyune handed starts.

The Cranes face a do-or-die game against CHAN defending champions Morocco in their final Group C game at the Stade de la Reunification in Douala.

Team captain Lwaliwa will be playing his first game of the tournament after missing the opening two games against Togo and Rwanda through a thigh injury.

Lwaliwa returned to training days before the Togo game on Friday last week, but was not risked in the game with Mujuzi, and Paul Mbowa starting in central defence.

Mbowa had a dismal performance, scoring an unfortunate own goal for Togo’s first goal of the game before he was subbed and subsequently dropped for the game against Morocco.

Meanwhile, Mujuzi, Denis Iguma and Aziz Kayondo have been maintained in a four-man defence ahead of Charles Lukwago who has been stable in goal, making seven saves in two games.

Saidi Kyeyune is rewarded for his superb strike and tremendous 45-minute cameo appearance against Togo with his first start in the place of the experienced Tony Mawejje who lasted only 45 minutes against Togo.

Shafik Kagimu and Bright Anukani will start their third successive games at the CHAN tournament.

In attack, Brian Aheebwa is finally handed a start and will play alongside Ibrahim Orit and Vianne Ssekajugo in the three man attack.

What is the state of play?

A single point in two group games has put the Cranes in limbo of another group stage elimination and McKinstry’s men will need a huge win against Morocco to save their African Nations Championship campaign.

Morocco leads the group on four points, Togo is second on three points, while Rwanda is third on two points with Uganda bottom on just a single point.

The Cranes need to win against Morocco which will guarantee progress courtesy of a better head-to-head record. But for a team that has not won a game at the tournament since 2014, it might be quite a huge ask.

Uganda had two drooping performances in their opening two games against Rwanda and Togo; drawing one and losing the other, and it will be intriguing to see whether the Cranes truly have the mentality to land the sucker punch as McKinstry suggested.

Morocco have also not been as dominant as expected so far, and that is what might give Uganda a slight bit of hope going into the game.

While the statistics may be totally different, the Cranes find themselves in a quite similar position they were in the 2014 CHAN tournament in South Africa.

Heading into the final round of fixtures with a game against Morocco the final hurdle for the Cranes. It ended horribly for Uganda who were defeated 3-1 and sent crashing out of the tournament.

Uganda Cranes Starting XI: Charles Lukwago (GK), Denis Iguma , Aziz Kayondo, Halid Lwaliwa (C), Mustafa Mujuzi, Shafik Kagimu, Saidi Kyeyune, Bright Anukani, Ibrahim Orit, Viane Ssekajugo, Brian Aheebwa

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