By: Danito Nsubuga
After their impressive victory in Praia on Sunday 11th, the Cranes touched down at Entebbe on Tuesday in high spirits. They beat Cape Verde 1-0 thanks to a goal from substitute Geoffrey Sserunkuma who tapped home a well delivered cross from Godfrey Walusimbi in the 83rd minute.
Missing a big chunk of the core of the team that took part in the AFCON tournament in Gabon following the retirement of captain Geoffrey Massa, Joseph Ochaya and Robert Odongkara missed out through injury whereas Denis Iguma, Tonny Mawejje, Geoffrey Kizito and Isaac Isinde were dropped due to lack of fitness, Kizito Luwagga fell out with the coach and he swore never to feature again for the cranes not until Micho leaves the Cranes.
Others who missed out were Salim Jamal, Michael Azira, Moses Oloya, Shafick Batambuze and Yunus Sentamu. These were replaced by a big contingent of locally based but actively involved players like Ismael Watenga, Denis Okot, Isaac Muleme, Milton Karisa, Benjamin Ochan, Bernard Muwanga, Derrick Nsibambi, the rejuvenated Emmanuel Okwi and Swedish based Robert Kakeeto.
Micho’s boldness was exhibited in his starting 11 as he picked Villa’s Bernard Muwanga, rookey striker Derrick Nsibambi and Isaac Muleme who did not disappoint by putting in a spirited display to vindicate the faith vested in them by their coach.
A buoyant Micho said that although they had some travel challenges ahead of the game, his players showed high levels of mental strength to win the game, that’s why he will continue picking players that are set both physically and mentally for battle.
“I will not field players because of their past, but the current form and playing time at their respective clubs”. Added the Serbian tactician.
“The first match doesn’t mean that we have already qualified but it is a very big step covered forward “ concluded the Serbian.
He explained that it is always good to pick some points away from home and make sure you win all home games in such qualifiers. Sredojevic confirmed that he will continue to use only players who are in good form for every match for the national team.
The Cranes now lead Group L with 3 points, Tanzania and Lesotho have 1 point each and Cape Verde are last with no point. Uganda will next host Tanzania on March 23, 2018 in the second match of the qualifiers.