The Democratic Republic of Congo takes on Uganda on June 22, 2019, at the Cairo International Stadium to open their respective Africa Cup of Nations 2019 bids.
DR Congo and Uganda are both bracketed in Group A along with the hosts Egypt and Zimbabwe. The top two teams in each Group will advance to the knockout round with the four highest placing third-placed teams joining them in the Round of 16. The winner of Group A will take on the third-placed team from Group C/D/E while the runner-up of Group A will play the runner-up in Group C. If the third placer in this group also makes it to the next round, they are booked against the winners of Group B.
Democratic Republic of Congo (Group A)
The Democratic Republic of Congo qualified for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations by finishing as the runners-up in Group G of the qualifying tournament with a record of 2 wins, 3 draws and one loss for a total of 9 points. The champions of this tournament in 1968 and 1974, DR Congo will be making their 19th appearance in the final.
With the likes of Cedric Bakambu and Yannick Bolasie, DR Congo has the pieces to have a real go and surprise teams in this tournament. This is a side that reached the quarterfinals two years ago in Gabon and looks like they are primed for better success this time around.
Here is the final line-up for coach Jean-Florent Ibenge Ikwange:
- Goalkeepers: Parfait Mandanda (Dinamo Bucharest/ROM), Ley Matampi (Al Ansar/KSA), Anthony Mossi (Chiasso/SUI)
- Defenders: Glody Ngonda, Djuma Shabani (both V Club), Christian Luyindama (Galatasaray/TUR), Arthur Masuaku (West Ham/ENG), Wilfred Moke (Ankaragucu/TUR), Issama Mpeko (TP Mazembe), Marcell Tisserand (Wolfsburg/GER), Bobo Ungenda (Primeiro Agosto/ANG)
- Midfielders: Merveille Bope, Paul-Jose Mpoku (both Standard Liege/BEL), Jacques Maghoma (Birmingham City/ENG), Chancel Mbemba (Porto/POR), Tresor Mputu (Mazembe), Youssouf Mulumbu (Kilmarnock/SCO)
- Forwards: Chadrack Akolo (Stuttgart/GER), Britt Assombalanga (Middlesbrough/ENG), Cedric Bakambu (Beijing Guoan/CHN), Yannick Bolasie (Everton/ENG), Jonathan Bolingi (Antwerp/BEL), Elia Meschak (Mazembe)
Odds from Titanbet.com as of 6/18/19
Uganda (Group A)
Uganda earned a spot in the tournament by topping Group L of the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers with a record of four wins, 1 draw and 1 defeat for a total of 13 points. This will be Uganda’s 7th appearance in the final and their best finish ever in the Africa Cup of Nations was a 2nd place finish in 1978, the only time they’ve made it past the group stage.
Uganda will be playing in back to back Africa Cup of Nations tournaments for the first time since qualifying three consecutive times from 1974-1978. The Cranes have the best goalkeeper in Africa in Dennis Onyango and they will need him to be at his best in order to have a fighting chance in their group.
Here are Sebastien Desabre’s final squad for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations:
- Goalkeepers: Jamal Salim Magoola (Al Hilal/SUD), Robert Odongkara (Adama City/ETH), Denis Onyango (Mamelodi Sundowns/RSA)
- Defenders: Timothy Awanyi (KCCA), Murushid Juuko (Simba/TAN), Isaac Muleme (Viktoria Zizkov/CZE), Hassan Wasswa Mawanda (unattached), Bevis Mugabi (Yeovil Town/ENG), Ronald Mukiibi (Ostersunds/SWE), Joseph Ochaya (TP Mazembe/COD), Nicholas Wadada (Azam/TAN), Godfrey Walusimbi (unattached)
- Midfielders: Khalid Aucho (Church Hill Brothers/IND), Michael Azira (Montreal Impact/CAN), Allan Kateregga (Maritzburg Utd/RSA), William Kizito Luwagga (Shakhter Karagandy/KAZ), Tadeo Lwanga (Vipers), Farouk Miya (Gorica/CRO), Emmanuel Okwi (Simba/TAN)
- Forwards: Patrick Kaddu, Allan Kyambadde (both KCCA), Lumala Abdu (Syrianska/SWE), Derrick Nsibambi (Smouha/EGY)
DR Congo is the soccer betting favorite in this match and perhaps the main reason for that is 28-year old Cedric Bakambu. Bakambu made a name for himself as one of the top goal scorers for Primera from 2015-2018. This year, he decided to ply his trade in China where he scored 30 goals in 36 games. This could be Bakambu’s break out tournament. Yannick Bolasie is the talisman for DR Congo. The 30-year old is one of his country’s most successful football players. Bolasie starred while playing for Crystal Palace before earning a transfer to Everton. DR Congo will be without forwards Kabongo Kasongo and Jackson Muleka who were unable to get their respective visas in time for the Leopards’ training camp in Spain.
Uganda’s Africa Cup of Nations bid suffered a blow when midfielder Moses Waiswa suffered a knee injury in Abu Dhabi where the Cranes are preparing for the upcoming tournament. Waiswa was a regular for Uganda in their qualifying for the Nations Cup. He was a member of the Vipers SC squad that won the league title in 2017-18 and is the reigning Fufa Player of the Year. Head coach Sebastian Desabre took over in 2017 and he’s brought success to the Cranes, helping them zoom to 77th in the FIFA rankings after finishing on top of their group in the qualifiers.
When it comes to line-ups, Uganda doesn’t have the kind of star power and talent that the other teams have. Desabre’s success has been more because of cohesion more than talent. On the other hand, DR Congo has an explosive scoring team but may not have the best defense to progress deep in the tournament. However, against Uganda, I think the offense of DR Congo will be enough to power them to victory. Prediction: DR Congo