Uganda and Baroka striker Geofrey Massa fires Ghana warning ahead of African Nations Cup clash
Posted: 17 January 2017 Time: 11:07
Uganda captain Geofrey Massa insists the team are not at the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations as tourists.
The Cranes will open their Group D campaign tonight against Ghana, the same nation they faced in their last outing at the competition in the 1978 final.
While Uganda were denied honours 39 years ago, they can draw encouragement from their last three meetings with Avram Grant's Black Stars outfit, recording a draw in World Cup qualifying, and a win and stalemate in 2015 AFCON qualifying.
"We are not here as tourists, we came here for business," Baroka striker Massa is quoted as saying by CAF.
"It won’t be easy against Ghana but we know why we are here. We had good results against them recently. Millions of people are waiting for us with happiness and this is our motivation.
"We have a great coach who always encourages the players. He's a blessing to Uganda. We have a lot of young players in the team. Playing against Ghana is tough, but we will be up to the mission."
Meanwhile, Uganda coach Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojević is likewise relishing the opportunity to compete on Africa's biggest stage.
He said: "The last time we played in the Africa Cup of Nations was the 1978 final against Ghana. After 39 years, we are back and our first match is against Ghana again. It is a meaningful destiny. Ghana is a great football nation and we have very good relationships with them; they are like our role models.
"Every match is like a final for us. We respect our opponents but we will work hard and try to do our best. It is a test of how far to go and if we want to be among the best in African football we have to prove that.
"Ghana is a team with top class players and they are one of the tournament favorites. Since 2008, they are always in the top four. They were runner-ups two years ago; this proves they are a top team. What I think of them I will share with my players, not to the public.
"We will fight for first goal, first point, first win and possible qualification to the next round. The fact that we are the only country from the CECAFA region makes us proud. If we do well, then we have achieved a feat. If not, it's an experience and a step towards the future. We are building a team and we have a project for Cameroon 2019."