Uganda targeting World Cup after AFCON qualification

Uganda at Afcon 2017 Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

Uganda are targeting a spot at the 2026 World Cup after qualifying for back-to-back Africa Cup of Nations tournaments, according to President of the Federation of Uganda Football Association Moses Magogo.

No member country in the Council for East and Central Africa Football Association has ever qualified for the World Cup, but Magogo is determined that Uganda will be the first.

"Uganda's target is now qualifying for 2026 World Cup," Magogo told ESPN. "We have made it to back-to-back AFCONs, and now we are targeting the World Cup.

"With good planning and support from the government and stakeholders, Uganda can play at the World Cup, we have what it takes to play there before too long."

Uganda qualified for their second straight Africa Cup of Nations last weekend after a 1-0 win over Cape Verde in Kampala.

The win takes them out of reach on 13 points ahead of their final group game against Tanzania.

"In 2014, after failing to qualify for the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations, we sat down as FUFA to lay down a strategy that would help us achieve that target," Magogo continued.

"We held a symposium and designed out eight key aspects, and indeed we managed to obtain the set target.

"That is done, but football continues, therefore, as FUFA we are now setting a new target and that is qualifying for the 2026 FIFA World Cup in Mexico, USA and Canada.

"It does not end at just saying we want to qualify for the 2026 FIFA World Cup. There must be efforts done to achieve the said targets.

"We believe every stakeholder including government, FUFA, players, coaches, sponsors and fans have huge roles to play," he added.

As well as qualifying for the 2019 AFCON, Uganda also reached the tournament with the best defensive record across any of the sides in contention.

The Cranes are yet to concede a goal in their five qualifiers to date, and Sebastien Desabre's side also recently held Nigeria 0-0 away in an international friendly.

"When you look at some of the nations that keep qualifying for the World Cup from Africa, they are no more special than us," the FUFA chief explained, "but it calls for good planning and money."

Charles Bakkabulindi, Uganda's State Minister for Sport, also supported Magogo's view that Uganda should now target World Cup qualification.

"It is good that now our players have started to get the confidence of qualifying for AFCON competitions," he told ESPN. "Now the bar should be raised to World Cup."