This implies that coach Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojevic’s team will have to endure a mountain of barrier in preliminary rounds of the qualifying process that will be played between May and August, with the final phase taking place from 5 September until 26 November. The sad news comes in the aftermath of Uganda’s 3-1 loss at the hands of Morocco’s Atlas Lions, a result that ended The Cranes’ interest in the African Nations Championship.
The ranking of countries was based on their performance in the last three editions of the Nations cups and the 2014 World Cup qualifying campaigns that have always turned into almost episodes for the 37 million Ugandans.
FUFA technical Committee Mujib Kasule and head coach Micho seemed surprised when asked about the latest developments but remained confident that the team can produce the magic and join the group stages.
“We have to prepare soon for our possible opponents. Early preparations will put us in a good position when the qualification gets underway,” said Mujib with the 40 year-old Serb coach chipping in affirmatively; “We shall have special plans for each stage starting with the preliminaries which have tricky teams.”
“After the Morocco game, the players were deflated. I could see they were disappointed. But I had to remind them of how good they were from the first game and how ready they are to graduate to the senior side,” Micho had revealed in an earlier interview.
“The message was clear. I now believe we will qualify for AFCON 2015. That is going to happen. My target now is to organise five friendly games before the qualifiers start in September. We will have stiff competition in all the positions. That’s what I have always wanted,” he said.
Cranes will be hoping to make the finals for the first time since 1978 when they lost 2-0 to Ghana in the final in Kumasi.
African champions Nigeria top the ranking with 39.5 points with Ghana behind on 38 points.
Other top seeds for the qualifiers are Cote d’Ivoire, Zambia, Burkina Faso, Mali, and Tunisia.
The qualifiers shall be played in the format of several preliminary rounds, as well as a group phase with seven groups consisting of four teams each.
The two top teams of each group will then directly qualify for the tournament, along with the 3rd place winners of the seven groups.
Out of the 51 countries engaged in these qualifiers, the top 21 teams listed in the CAF Ranking shall automatically qualify for the group phase.
The seven others partaking in the group phase shall be determined following the conclusion of the preliminary rounds, held from May to August 2014.
The draw for the qualifiers is scheduled for 27 April in Cairo, Egypt.
The 2015 Africa Cup of Nations will be hosted by Morocco in four cities- Rabat, Agadir, Tanger, and Marrakech-from 15 January to 7 February.
Automatically qualifiers: Nigeria, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Zambia, Burkina Faso, Mali, Tunisia, Algeria, Angola, Cape Verde, Togo, Egypt, South Africa, Cameroon, DR Congo, Ethiopia, Gabon, Niger, Guinea, Senegal, Sudan
Preliminary qualifiers: Libya, Equatorial Guinea, Botswana, Malawi, Uganda, Mozambique, Benin, Sierra Leone, Congo, CAR, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Liberia, Gambia, Rwanda, Tanzania, Namibia, Burundi, Lesotho, Guinea Bissau, Madagascar, Chad, Sao Tome, Seychelles, Comoros, Mauritius, Swaziland, Eritrea, Mauritania, South Sudan