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Tanzania, Uganda in two-way battle for 2023 AFCON qualification

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Tanzania team line up before their match against Madagascar in a previous qualifier
Tanzania team line up before their match against Madagascar in a previous qualifier
  • Tanzania are second in the group and only need a point
  • They play away to Algeria
  • Uganda play Niger in Morocco and need a win at all costs

Neighbors Uganda and Tanzania are in a two-way battle to earn qualification to next year’s Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Ivory Coast. The two sides are in Group F, with Tanzania need just a point to qualiufy, while Uganda need to win at all costs and hope Tanzania loses.

Tanzania play away to already qualified Algeria in Annaba while Uganda are away to Niger in Marrakech Morocco. The Tanzanians are on seven points and need just one single point to qualify.

The Taifa Stars sit second in Group F with seven points, three ahead of second placed Uganda, heading to the final match day of the qualifiers. With a point, against the already qualified Algeria away from home they will assure themselves of qualification, but defeat, coupled with victory for Uganda against Niger, will mean they are out of a place in Ivory Coast.

Skipper John Bocco says the team understands the task ahead of them and are keen to give their best especially against a formidable opponent.

“As players we have high expectations to do well and qualify for the Cup of Nations. We know it will be a tough match and we should work hard for our country,” Bocco said.

He added; “We need to give our best. We have the belief and we will give everything to qualify. We are playing against a big team with big players but in football, whoever works harder will get a good result. We have a good team and we know we can get a good result.”

Amrouche confident they can upset Algeria

John Raphael Bocco in action against Benin. PHOTO/TFF

His sentiments are shared by head coach Adel Amrouche, himself an Algerian native born in Belgium.

“We know it will be a tough match ad we want to make it here in Algeria. We couldn’t do it in Dar against Uganda but we have a chance in Algeria. I believe in the boys, I believe in our team. We have quality players who can make it and this is a special game which needs experience,” said the coach.

He added; “We must play with a lot of heart and I know we have the strength and the spirit.”

Algeria meanwhile are looking to finish the qualifiers with a 100 percent record as they have won all their past five qualification matches. It will be a tough duel for the Tanzanians, but Amrouche is determined to see them earn a historic qualification from North Africa.

In Marrakech, Morocco, Uganda are clinging onto hope.

Cranes cling on to hope in Marrakech 

Uganda players line up before the match against Tanzania

Uganda players line up before the match against Tanzania

The Cranes team had their last training session on Wednesday evening where head coach Milutin “Micho” Sredojevic had a full squad after the arrival of Scottish based defender Bevis Mugabe and striker Rodgers Mato.

Head coach Micho knows they will be up to a difficult task against the Niger side, whoi have no chance of qualification but will be fighting off for pride.

“We know it will be easy, but we are also aware that a win will take us to AFCON if Tanzania lose. We will do our bit and get a win here and then wait for the rest,” said the tactician.

Uganda are looking to get back to the Cup of Nations after missing last year’s showpiece.

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