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Afcon Qualifiers: Cranes camp upbeat ahead of Burkina Faso tie

Midfielder Moses Waiswa is hoping to play for the Uganda Cranes again for the first time in two years, when the team face Burkina Faso in the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers on Wednesday March 24 at the St Mary’s stadium, Kitende.

Waiswa, whose last competitive game for the Cranes, was the team’s 3-0 loss to Tanzania in a 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier in Dar es Salaam, is looking forward to the game against Burkina Faso. Despite being a key player for Cranes former coach Sebastien Desabre, he missed out on the 2019 Afcon through injury.

“I cannot express how happy  I am to be back in the Cranes family. I am looking forward to the game against Burkina Faso. I hope I will be picked by the coach. And if I am, I definitely will do my best to help us win,” Waiswa said.

The South Africa-based midfielder noted that as a team, they must ensure that they beat Burkina Faso. Once they do that, the tie against Malawi next week, will be purely academic. “Therefore, before looking so far, we need to complete the job at home,” Waiswa said.

Positioned in number two on the log in group B, Cranes just has to make sure they are not dislodged from that place, to guarantee qualification for the Afcon. By and large, Uganda must make sure that at any one time, they are not dislodged by Malawi.

A win over Burkina Faso would send Cranes top of the league with 10 points, leaving the West Africans in second place at 8 points. That would leave Uganda requiring a draw against Malawi away in Blantyre, to ensure top spot.

Inevitably, those are the permutations most Cranes players will be making out for the last two qualifiers, especially, when one sees how precarious the whole qualification process has been. But thankfully, their destiny is in their hands, and no team has to determine Cranes fate for them, which can be tricky.

That said, coach Abdallah Mubiru is going to have an anxious wait, to see whether his Egypt-based winger Abdul Lumala, is fit enough to play. The winger limped off the field on Monday, after sustaining what seemed like a knee injury. But with midfielder Kizito Luwaga expected to be part of the team, coach Mubiru can sleep more soundly, trusting Luwaga to help him stretch the opposing defence.

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