Uganda v Senegal: Desabre 'not afraid' of Teranga Lions
Sebastien Desabre insists Uganda do not fear Senegal as they prepare for their first Africa Cup of Nations knockout match in 41 years.
The Cranes finished second to tournament hosts Egypt in Group A to set up a last-16 showdown with 2002 runners-up Senegal in Cairo.
After picking up their first win in the continental competition since 1978 with a 2-0 triumph against the Democratic Republic of Congo, Desabre's men then played out a 1-1 draw with Zimbabwe and went down 2-0 to Egypt.
But four points proved enough to progress and Desabre has set his sights on an upset in Friday's clash, with the winners taking on either Morocco or Benin in the quarter-finals.
"We are not afraid of any opponent," he said. "Senegal have played in the World Cup and it is our chance to play a good team. We will give 100 per cent.
"All teams have strengths and weaknesses. We know the style of play we will use against Senegal."
Uganda's preparations for the game have been disrupted, however, as their players reportedly refused to train on Wednesday over alleged unpaid bonuses they are said to be owed following their win against DR Congo.
And next up is a tricky match against a Senegal side boasting seven wins from their last eight matches, including victories over Tanzania and Kenya – either side of a 1-0 defeat to Algeria – to finish second in Group C.
Senegal often struggle in the knockout phase of the Africa Cup of Nations, though, having lost nine of their last 14 such fixtures.
Their most recent knockout win at the tournament came against Guinea in 2006, and boss Aliou Cisse is therefore taking nothing for granted against opponents he has plenty of respect for.
"It's direct elimination, so it will be hard," he told Goal.com. "The Ugandan team are the team who have lost the least in the last few years.
"We played a friendly [against Uganda] before the World Cup and had a 0-0 draw and everyone said they were a little team, that we should have won, and I said, 'be careful'. This is a team who are progressing.
"They kept their identity African. They play like true Africans."
16 - The #TOTALAFCON2019 Round of 16 fixtures:— OptaJabu (@OptaJabu) July 2, 2019
Morocco vs Benin
Uganda vs Senegal
Nigeria vs Cameroon
Egypt vs South Africa
Madagascar vs DR Congo
Algeria vs Guinea
Mali vs Ivory Coast
Ghana vs Tunisia.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Uganda - Farouk Miya
Uganda have failed to score in exactly half of their past six matches at the Africa Cup of Nations. But when they do find the back of the net, Miya tends to be at the heart of it - the former Standard Liege ace has been involved in three of his side's last four goals in the competition.
Senegal - Kalidou Koulibaly
Senegal kept out both Tanzania and Kenya in the group stage to make it six clean sheets in their last eight matches, with Napoli defender Koulibaly proving to be a formidable force at the back.
KEY OPTA FACTS
- This will be the first encounter between Uganda and Senegal at the Africa Cup of Nations.
- Uganda have qualified for the knockout phase of the Africa Cup of Nations for the first time since 1978, when they lost the final against Ghana (2-0).
- Senegal striker M’Baye Niang is the player who attempted the most shots without scoring in the groups stage of the Africa Cup of Nations 2019 (12).