Uganda coach Sebastien Desabre is quietly confident that the Cranes may have an edge after being drawn against hosts Egypt in the Africa Cup of Nations, and the Frenchman is already putting together a plan to neutralise the Pharaohs’ star man Mohamed Salah.
The East Africans were handed a particularly tough first-round assignment after being pitted alongside Egypt, Democratic Republic of Congo and Zimbabwe in Group A of the 2019 Afcon, which kicks off in Cairo on June 21.
However, Uganda have plenty of fresh experience of playing against Salah and co., and Desabre believes these recent matches should prepare them well for the June 30 rematch in their third group game.
“Senegal, Nigeria and Morocco are really the favourites, but Egypt are, too, because they’re hosting the tournament,” Desabre told ESPN about the leading Afcon contenders.
“These four teams should go far.
“We’re in Egypt’s group, and they’re a team we know well. Personally, I know them very well as I worked in Egypt (five months with club side Ismaily SC), and we’ve played against them several times.
“When we play against Egypt, the boys know that it’s possible (to get a result).”
The two sides were pitted together in the group stage of the 2017 AFCON, where Egypt were ultimately pipped by Cameroon in the final, and met home and away during the 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign.
“(We’ve) beaten them in World Cup qualification (a 1-0 victory in Kampala in August 2017), at the last Afcon they only scored in the 89th minute.
“It’s very difficult, and they’re favourites, but it’s not too bad to play against them either.
“Egypt are strong individually, and maybe as a group they’re a little less strong than in previous years, but they’ll be pushed by their supporters.
“We know, at home, how important it is to have fans behind you.”