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Africa Cup of Nations

Afcon 2019: Uganda coach Desabre - Mohamed Salah's Egypt are weaker as a team

5:56 PM WAT 21/04/2019
Sebastien Desabre
Egypt and Uganda will be meeting in competitive matches for the fourth time in less than three years

Uganda coach Sebastien Desabre is confident that his side will not be overwhelmed by facing hosts Egypt at the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) finals in June.

The Cranes of Uganda were drawn in Group A that also contains Zimbabwe and DR Congo and face Egypt in their final group game on June 30.

Headlined by Liverpool star Mohamed Salah, Egypt appears the superior side on paper but Desabre is drawing inspiration from their recent meetings with the Pharaohs.

Although Desabre was not in charge of Uganda then, Salah featured in all three recent matches, scoring once in a 2018 Fifa World Cup qualifier 1-0 win at the Borg El Arab in September 2017.

That was after Uganda had beaten Egypt 1-0 in Kampala a month earlier in the reverse fixture.

Earlier that year, the two sides were in the same group at the Afcon tournament in Gabon, with the Pharaohs sweating but Salah set up Abdalla El Said to score the all-important goal right at the death and edge the Cranes 1-0.

Senegal, Nigeria and Morocco are really the favourites, but Egypt are too, because they're hosting the tournament," Desabre told ESPN.

“We're in Egypt’s group, and they’re a team we know well. Personally, I know them very well as I worked in Egypt (five months with club side Ismaily SC), and we’ve played against them several times.”

Desabre feels that they can pull an upset against Egypt in Cairo.

“When we play against Egypt, the boys know that it's possible (to get a result). (We've) beaten them in World Cup qualification, at the last Afcon they only scored in the 89th minute.

“It's very difficult, and they're favourites, but it's not too bad to play against them either. Egypt are strong individually, and maybe as a group, they're a little less strong than in previous years, but they'll be pushed by their supporters.

"We know, at home, how important it is to have fans behind you.”

A number of Uganda players who featured in recent meetings with Egypt are expected to be at the upcoming Afcon, led by captain Denis Onyango who has participated in the last three matches between the two sides.