Uganda's Onyango warns Tanzania ahead of Nations Cup qualifier

Denis Onyango
Uganda goalkeeper Denis Onyango

Uganda's goalkeeper and captain, Denis Onyango, has warned Tanzania that the Cranes are determined to maintain their unbeaten run in the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers when the neighbours meet in Dar es Salaam on 24 March.

The Taifa Stars need a win from their last match of the campaign and must rely on Cape Verde to stop Lesotho from winning in order to qualify from Group L for this year's finals in Egypt.

Uganda have already qualified with 13 points, while Lesotho and Tanzania have 5 points and Cape Verde four.

"We are going to Tanzania with a serious mission to win. We know they [Tanzania] need a victory to qualify, but we are determined to keep our unbeaten run in the qualifiers," Uganda's Onyango told BBC Sport.

Onyango, who recently signed a four-year contract extension with his South African club Mamelodi Sundowns, has kept a clean sheet in all five of Uganda's 2019 Nations Cup qualifiers.

The 33-year-old has been nursing a knee injury of late but is hoping to be fit for the big East African clash and is determined to keep his own personal run going.

"I want to make history by not conceding a goal in the qualifiers because that means a lot for me.

"But it is not always easy playing against Tanzania because they know us well and that perhaps explains why we even drew 0-0 in Kampala in the first leg.

"It is going to be an explosive game because Tanzania are hosts and they need the win more than we do since we have already qualified.

"But beating them in Dar es Salaam will mean a lot," Onyango added.

Tanzania are looking to reach their first Africa Cup of Nations finals since 1980 whilst Uganda returned to the finals at Gabon 2017 after a 39 year absence.

"It's an honour we are going back to the Afcon but we want to go a step further and make it out of the group stage because we failed to do that in Gabon," said Onyango.

If Onyango plays, he will have to combat the threat of Tanzania's captain and in-form Genk striker Mbwana Samatta who is back in the Taifa Stars squad after missing their last game, a 2-0 defeat away to Lesotho.

He is one of 25 players named in the squad by Tanzania's head coach Emmanuel Amuneke.

Tanzania squad:

Goalkeepers: Aishi Manula (Simab SC), Mechata Mnata (Mbao FC), Aron Kalambo (TZ Prisons), Suleiman Salula (Malindi FC)

Defenders: Vincent Andrew (Young Africans), Kelvin Yondani (Young Africans) Vincent Philipo (Mbao FC), Hassan Kessy (Nkana FC, Zambia), Gadiel Michael (Young Africans), Aggrey Morris (Azam FC), Kennedy Wilson (Singida Utd), Ali Sonso (Lipuli FC)

Midfielders: Himid Mao (Petrojet FC, Egypt), Mudathir Yahya (Azam FC), Jonas Mkude (Simba SC), Simon Msuva (El Jadida), Shiza Kichuya (ENPPI SC), Farid Mussa (Tenerife), Feisal Salum (Young Africans)

Forwards: Thomas Ulimwengu (JS Saoura, Algeria), Rashid Mandawa (BDF XI, Botswana), Shaaban Idd Chilunda (Tenerife, Spain) Yahya Zaid (Ismaily, Egypt), John Bocco (Simba SC), Mbwana Samatta (Genk, Belgium)

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