Sports Mole previews Friday’s World Cup Qualifying – Africa clash between Guinea and Uganda, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Guinea and Uganda get their 2016 World Cup qualifying campaign underway when they go head to head at the Stade Municipal de Berkane on Friday.
Both nations have been drawn in Group G, alongside Somalia, Botswana, 2015 COSAFA Cup runners-up Mozambique and two-time Africa Cup of Nations winners Algeria.
Guinea concluded their friendly schedule for the year on October 17 when they were held to a somewhat disappointing 1-1 draw by Gabon at the Estadio Algarve.
Stuttgart striker Serhou Guirassy found the back of the net once again to hand the Syli National a 36th-minute lead but Aaron-Salem Boupendza restored parity from the penalty spot two minutes after the hour mark.
Guinea have now gone unbeaten in their last three matches, picking up one win and two draws, including a 2-2 stalemate against Malawi in their final Africa Cup of Nations qualifying game on September 9.
Despite the draw against the Flames, Kaba Diawara‘s men secured a second-placed finish in Group D, picking up 10 points from six matches, to secure a third consecutive AFCON appearance since missing out in 2017.
Guinea will be backing themselves to pick up a dream start to the World Cup qualifiers on Thursday as they take on an opposing side against whom they are unbeaten in five of their last seven encounters, claiming three wins and two draws since November 2014.
Uganda, on the other hand, were condemned to a second consecutive friendly defeat as they were beaten 3-0 by Zambia at the Al Hamriya Sports Club Stadium on October 17.
Having suffered a 1-0 loss to Mali four days earlier, the Cranes failed to find their feet as a brace from Leicester City man Patson Daka and Fashion Sakala‘s 63rd-minute strike inspired Zambia to a comfortable victory.
Prior to both friendly outings, Uganda wrapped up their 2023 AFCON qualifying campaign on September 7 when they picked up a 2-0 victory over Niger at the Stade de Marrakech.
However, a run of just one win in their opening five matches saw Paul Put‘s men finish third in Group Group F with seven points and fail to clinch a spot in the continental tournament for the first time since 2019.
Uganda head into Thursday’s group curtain-raiser on a run of four defeats in their last five matches across all competitions, conceding seven goals and keeping just one clean sheet since March.
However, they are unbeaten in each of their five competitive away matches since August 2022, claiming four wins and one draw, and will be backing themselves to extend this impressive run as they look to begin their hunt for a first World Cup appearance on the right path.
Guinea form (all competitions):
Uganda form (all competitions):
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Guinea have called up 23 players for their upcoming qualifiers, with skipper and former Liverpool man Naby Keita returning the the squad since a 4-1 loss against Brazil back in June.
In-form striker Guirassy has also earned a spot in the Syli National squad and the 27-year-old should lead the attack once again, alongside Lens’ forward Morgan Guilavogui and Le Havre’s Mohamed Bayo.
Guirassy has been a revelation in the German Bundesliga this season, racking up 15 goals in nine appearances for Stuttgart, who are currently third in the league standings.
Diawara has also called up Boluspor defender Naby Oulare to the Guinea squad and the 21-year-old defender will be looking to make his senior debut this weekend.
Uganda have named an experienced 26-man squad for November’s qualifying games against Guinea and Somalia, including the SC Villa trio of Kenneth Semakula, Gavin Kizito Mugweri and Umaru Lutalo.
While the core group of the players are based in the Ugandan top flight, Austin FC’s Bobosi Byaruhanga is one of the foreign-based players named in the squad, alongside Joseph Kizito Luwagga, Leganes’ Ibrahim Juma and Motherwell defender Bevis Kristofer Mugabi.
Guinea possible starting lineup:
Kone; D Sylla, M Camara, Sow, O Sylla; Diawara, Konate, Cisse; Guirassy, Guilavogui, Bayo
Uganda possible starting lineup:
Salim; Semakula, Okello, Mugabi, Kayondo; Bobosi, Aucho, Oyirwoth; Omedi, Amaku, Karisa
We say: Guinea 2-1 Uganda
Guinea and Uganda head into the weekend in contrasting form, with Put’s men losing four of their last five matches across all competitions. The Syli National have named a strong squad for the qualifiers and we fancy them outclassing the Cranes in front of their home supporters.
For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.