Appearing at AFCON for the second consecutive time having featured in that of 2017 after an absence of 39 years without making it through to the finals, excitement coupled with optimism in Uganda is quite huge, many believe, the East Africans could start tomorrow’s game with victory.
SoftPower News’ Kungu Al-mahadi Adam gives you a preview and his prediction of the game.
About the teams
Known as The Leopards, DR Congo’s national football team is coached by Florent Ibengé and its Captain is Youssouf Mulumbu.
They have appeared 18 times in AFCON and only one in the world cup. The Leopards are ranked 46th in the World and 5th in Africa.
Known as The Cranes, Uganda have appeared 6 times at the continental competition since 1962.
They have never won the competition and their best performance was runners-up in 1978 and are ranked 79 in the world by FIFA.
They are managed by French Coach, Sebastian Desabre and the captain of the team is Dennis Masinde Onyango.
The squad arrived in Egypt on Monday night direct from Spain where they had held their pre-tournament training camp having concluded their preparations with a 1-1 draw against Kenya.
Although they are unbeaten in their last five matches, they have won only one of those games with a solitary win against Liberia being their only success in their last nine outings.
They had a comfortable qualifying passage to reach this stage as they didn’t lose a match or concede a goal in five matches before a defeat in Tanzania when they had already confirmed qualification.
Preparations for the tournament were completed with a 1-0 victory against the Ivory Coast last Saturday. Farouk Miya – who is likely to be one of Uganda’s main players at the tournament – scored his 22nd international goal to settle the match in Uganda’s favour.
Last two AFCON appearances
DR Congo have progressed through to the knockout stages at each of the last two Africa Cup of Nations tournaments and achieved a third-place finish in 2015.
They only appeared in the 2017 AFCON edition since 1978 and knocked out at the group stages having managed only a one all stalemate with Mali in Gabon.
Last six FIFA games played
On 28/03/2018, they drew 1-1 with Nigeria in an International match away from home, having lost 2-0 to Tanzania on 27/03/2018 in another International Match.
On 11/11/2017 in the FIFA World Cup African Qualifying Third Round, DRC won 3-1 against Guinea at home but prior to that, they had won 2-1 against Libya on 07/10/2017 in the FIFA World Cup African Qualifying Third Round.
The Leopards had a two all draw with Tunisia in the World Cup African Qualifying Third Round on 05/09/2017 and had a 1-2 loss to Tunisia on 01/09/2017 in FIFA World Cup African Qualifying Third Round away from home.
The Cranes defeated Ivory Coast 1-0 on 15/06/2019 in an International Match away from home and had a barren draw with Nigeria on 20/11/2018 International Match away.
On 12/11/2017 FIFA World Cup African Qualifying Third Round, the Ugandans held Congo Brazzaville to a one all draw away from home, but prior to that, they had on 07/10/2017 in the FIFA World Cup African Qualifying Third Round held Ghana to goalless draw at home.
On 05/09/2017 in the FIFA World Cup African Qualifying Third Round, Uganda lost 1-0 to Egypt away but a week before, the boys had a one all win over the Pharaohs on 31/08/2017 FIFA World Cup African Qualifying Third Round in Kampala.
Players to look out for
Cedric Bakamba, despite missing a penalty in DR Congo’s final AFCON warm-up match against Kenya, is expected to lead the attack.
He will receive support from the talented trio of Tresor Mputu, Yannick Bolasie and M’Poku.
West Ham ace Musuaku should start at left-back after excelling in the two warm-up games.
Uganda head coach, Sebastien Desabre, has no injury issues here.
He could opt for a 4-4-2 formation with Farouk Miya being the main man up front. The 21-year-old has 22 goals in 59 appearances for the Cranes.
His team’s strength, however, is in defence. They conceded just three goals in qualifying.
Uganda goalkeeper, Denis Onyango, kept five cleans sheets in the six games he played in qualifying.
With the hosts Egypt expected to top the group, it seems on paper that DR Congo and Uganda will be fighting it out to see who finishes in second place, making this a pivotal fixture.
DR Congo have had good recent results in the tournament with semi-final and quarter-final appearances in the last two editions whereas Uganda are hopeful the experience they gained in 2017 will help them to a better showing on this occasion.
I predict a 1-1 draw.