The greatest football showpiece on the African continent, the Africa Cup of Nations is around the corner and teams are gearing up.
Two of the participants, Gabon and Mauritania, in their bid to thorough their preparations, will play against the Cranes of Uganda but head coach Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojevic has stressed the local players will play the focal role in the two matches.
Micho also highlighted the importance of the games, noting that they are meant to help maintain the high level of competitiveness amongst his players.
“Let us have it in mind that it’s majority of the locally based players that are going to be involved in these games,” Sredojevic told the press before adding.
“The target is to keep the competitiveness amongst the team ahead of the 2022 CHAN Algeria qualifiers and also the 2023 AFCON Ivory Coast qualifiers.”
“But, as we have all seen recently, it is these locally based players that have dominated the National team, so we hope to keep preparing them for the future,” he added.
Both games are set to happen in the United Arab Emirates city of Abu Dhabi. Gabon against Uganda will be played on December 30 whilst Mauritania versus Uganda is on new year’s day.
For starters, Uganda failed to qualify for their third AFCON tourney when they lost 1-0 to Malawi in the final Group B game in March 2021.
On the other hand, Gabon and Mauritania finished second in Group D and E respectively thus making it to Cameroon.
At the January competition, Gabon are pooled in Group C alongside giants Morocco and Ghana while there is also Comoros who are having their first appearance.
Gabon will start their campaign against Comoros on January 10.
Meanwhile, Mauritania who will be making their second consecutive appearance, also the second in their history having debuted in Egypt in 2019, are in Group F.
In Group F, they are paired with African powerhouse Tunisia, Mali and Gambia and will start with the latter on January 12.
The official kick off of the AFCON tournament is on January 9 when hosts Cameroon tussle it out with Burkina Faso.