Group B: Burkina Faso, Morocco, Uganda, Zimbabwe
Home base: Cape Town
Match dates: January 12, 16, 20
Most of you could probably be wondering what kind of opposition Uganda Cranes coach Milutin Sredojevic’s men will be coming up against at the third edition of the African Nations Championship takes place in South Africa that start this weekend. Truth is with Burkina Faso, Morocco and Zimbabwe all in Group B, Uganda will need a quick improvement against their upcoming opponents.
Micho however claims he has a counter-plan for Uganda’s opposition.
“I have been in African football long enough to know what each of our group opponents will throw at us. We will approach each differently,” the Serb said on Wednesday after Cranes’ final training session at Namboole National Stadium.
Cranes’ group matches will be played at the Athlone Stadium which is situated on the outskirts of Cape Town.
The 34,000-capacity Stadium, which was built in 1972, is used mostly for football matches and is the home ground of relegated ABSA Premiership club Santos. The Cranes, who will be making a second attempt at the CHAN event, having failed in 2011 in Khartoum, Sudan, will depart for Cape Town tomorrow aboard South African Airlines.
The Burkinabes will enter the tournament feeling confident of a place in the first knock-out round, having underlined their prowess on the continent by making it to the final of the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations.
However, the side are thought to be over-reliant on their overseas stars, and with the CHAN finals reserved solely for home-grown talent, a big test awaits coach Paul Put and his young charges.
The Lions of the Atlas make the long voyage from the top of Africa down to the tip for their inaugural adventure at a CHAN finals. They also enter the tournament as the side that dispatched holders Tunisia in the final qualifying round, squeaking a 1-0 aggregate win away from home in the second leg.
Hassan Benabicha will be the man to lead the Lions to South Africa, having taken over from Rachid Taoussi on Christmas Eve, and the new coach has arguably one of the strongest squads in the tournament at his disposal, with seven Raja Casablanca representatives on call, all of whom helped the side to the recent Club World Cup final.
The Warriors make their third successive appearance at the CHAN finals, although on both previous occasions, in 2009 and 2011, they failed to make it past the group stages after finishing third in both editions.
However, Ian Gorowa’s men showed they have what it takes to tussle with the big boys, having seen off 2012 AFCON champions Zambia to book their place in this year’s South African showpiece.