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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 
Uganda beat Comoros to qualify for 2017 Africa Cup of Nations   

KAMPALA Uganda (Xinhua) -- Uganda Cranes have qualified for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) after beating Comoros 1-0 on Sunday.

The Cranes, Uganda’ s national team booked a place to play in the 2017 Afcon in a Group D game played at Mandela National Stadium.

Belgian based professional Farouk Miya netted the goal after 37 minutes following defender Joseph Ochaya’ s cross.

“This is good news we have finally made it,”  said skipper Geoffrey Massa after the tough encounter.

Uganda qualified as second after Burkina Faso, which beat visiting Botswana 2-1 to top the group. Uganda and Burkina Faso finished with 14 points each but the West Africans beat Uganda 1-0.

Head Coach Milutin Sredojevic said this is a great day when Uganda return to the Afcon after 38 years.

“The boys have done the whole nation proud because it was not an easy battle playing against a team that has nothing to lose,”  Sredojevic said.

Uganda is the only team from the Council for East and Central African Football Associations region that will be at next year’ s Afcon finals in Gabon.

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Uganda dreams of beating 38-year Africa Cup of Nations jinx

KAMPALA, (Xinhua) -- Geoffrey Massa wakes up every morning to light exercises before joining the rest of the team in the afternoon for general training.

Under the scorching sun, the young lads sweat profusely but their coach, Serbian born Milutin Sredojevic, shouts ‘Harder’ reminding them that the team has to qualify for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) after a 38-year jinx.

The last time Uganda appeared at the continent’s biggest football showpiece was in 1978 in Ghana when they lost to the hosts during the final.

Uganda will have another chance to try and solve the puzzle if they can conjure up a positive result against visiting Comoros on Sept. 4.

The game will also have lots of meaning as Uganda are the only team in the east and central African region with a chance of making it to the 2017 Afcon competition in Gabon.

“This is the time we should prove a point and make history,” Massa, who is the captain of the team told Xinhua shortly after training.

All that the team needs in this Afcon qualifier is a win in its Group D tie and hope that Group leaders Burkina Faso can draw against Botswana.

A win for Burkina Faso and a win for Uganda could also still see coach Sredojevic’s team qualify for being among the best two second placed teams.

“That match looks easy but it is a very difficult game because it will put players and fans under pressure,” Tom Lwanga, who was part of the Cranes team that appeared in the 1978 Afcon event, told Xinhua.

The former defender noted that winning against Comoros will need a lot of motivation on and off the pitch.

“Some of us are very eager to see the national team qualify again when we are still alive,”  said ex-goalkeeper Paul Ssali who guided Uganda to the 1978 Afcon final.

The country’s football federation has already earmarked a cash reward of 10,000 U.S. dollars per player if the team qualifies.

“We have put in place a motivating aspect with every member of the squad to get 10,000 dollars if they qualify for the tournament,” said Uganda FA Chief Executive Officer Edgar Watson.

After two wins against Botswana and another away to Comoros together with a draw against Burkina Faso, Uganda has what it takes to book a ticket to Gabon for the 2017 Afcon.

The likes of Tony Mawejje, Massa, Godfrey Walusimbi, Emmanuel Okwi and goalkeepers Denis Onyango and Robert Odonkara will be expected to use their experience to push the team which has previously missed out narrowly to qualify on two occasions.

With Uganda chasing a place in the 2017 Afcon, the teams that have already qualified include Algeria, Morocco, Mali, Guinea Bissau, Egypt, Ghana, Senegal, Zimbabwe and Cameroon. 

 

UPDATE:

Ethiopia to launch flights to Moroni, Comoros

ADDIS ABABA, (Xinhua) -- Ethiopian Airlines has announced that it has finalized preparations to launch flights to Moroni, Comoros with the latest B737-800 as of the 30th of Oct. 2016.

Moroni is the largest city, the federal capital and seat of the government of the Union of the Comoros, a sovereign archipelago nation in the Indian Ocean.

The flights to Moroni will be operated thrice weekly via Dar es Salaam, according to the statement from the company on Monday.

Moroni will be the airline’s 54th African destination, noted the statement.

“We believe our flights to Moroni and elsewhere in our beloved continent, Africa, contribute positively to the overall development of the continent and serve as a critically essential vehicle for the flow of investment, trade and tourism,” said CEO of Ethiopian Airlines Tewolde GebreMariam.

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EARLIER REPORT:

Ethiopian Airlines to add flights to China’s Guangzhou

ADDIS ABABA, (Xinhua) -- The Ethiopian Airlines has announced that it will add a thrice weekly service, on top of its daily flights, to Guangzhou as of October 8 this year.

Hence forth, Ethiopian will operate 11 weekly flights to and from Guangzhou, capital of south China’s Guangdong Province, the airline said in a statement on Monday.

“We are pleased to launch more frequency to Guangzhou, one of the largest Chinese cities. Ethiopian has become the airline of choice among travelers between China, Africa and Brazil,” said Tewolde GebreMariam, CEO of the Ethiopian Airlines.

“For sure, this move will play a significant role to the growing economic and people-to-people ties between Africa and China,” he said.

According to the CEO, the airline now operates 31 weekly flights to four gateways in China: Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Hong Kong.

Ethiopian is among the fastest growing and most profitable African airlines. The statement said the airline operates the youngest fleet with an average of less than 5 years and currently serving 93 international destinations with over 240 daily departures.

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