Colorado Rapids fans will take a keen interest in match seven of the Africa Cup of Nations in Gabon, as it is likely to involve midfielder Micheal Azira in the colors of Uganda.
On Tuesday, the Cranes - as they are known - will face Ghana (9:00 a.m. MT) in their opening Group D game of the 2017 edition, which is taking place in the small, French-speaking country Gabon, situated on Central Africa’s Atlantic coast. Not since March 16, 1978 have Uganda played a match at the finals of the Cup of Nations, the continent’s premier national competition.
Uganda finished runners-up in 1978, losing to Ghana 2-0 in the final. Though Ghana has not won the title since 1982, they were beaten finalists in 1992, 2010 and 2015, and semifinalists at the previous five Cup of Nations. Ghana were beaten by Ivory Coast on penalties at the last edition two years ago. Uganda has struggled even to feature at the finals for the past 39 years.
The two teams met more recently, in a 2018 World Cup qualifier in Ghana. Uganda managed a 0-0 draw. Both squads are housed in the same hotel in the Gabon city of Port-Gentil.
Uganda will be without suspended pair Murushid Juuko and Khalid Aucho. Ghana will rely heavily on the experienced likes of Andre Ayew and Asamoah Gyan, though under head coach Avram Grant, their record against Uganda is 0-1-2.
Azira and Uganda follow this game with matches against seven-time winners Egypt (1/21) and Mali (1/25).