Port Gentil stadium in Gabon

Uganda and Azira face seven-time champions in game two of the Nations Cup

Rapids’ midfielder Micheal Azira will hope for a better outcome on Saturday as Uganda play their second group game at the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations in Gabon (12:00 p.m .MT).

A converted penalty from Andre Ayew gifted Ghana a 1-0 win over the Cranes on Tuesday, a game in which Azira started and played 45 minutes.

The Cranes next tackle seven-time Nations Cup winners Egypt, again in Port Gentil, the site of the first game.

Egypt were held 0-0 by Mali in their first group game, but they have goalkeeping issues heading into the contest with Uganda. Ahmed El Shenawy and Sherif Ekramy are both injured, which leaves 44-year-old Essam El Hadary as their only fit keeper.

Uganda have qualified for the Cup of Nations for the first time since 1978, and head coach Milutin 'Micho' Sredojevic remains confident that they can progress to the knockout stages.

“We have not been here for 39 years. In the first half, we had what I call stage fright,” the Serbian said. “We will play against giants Egypt and Mali and we will make sure to give 200% of our efforts.

“I have learnt that at this level of competition we cannot make silly mistakes like what we have done and we will not do that against Egypt and Mali.”

Uganda will welcome back two players from suspension, Murshid Juuko and Khalid Aucho. The East African country concludes their group games with a match against Mali next Wednesday.

In appearing in Uganda’s tournament opener, Azira became only the second active Rapids player to feature at the Africa Cup of Nations.


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