Cranes head coach Micho Sredejovic address the media at Lugogo ( Courtesy photo)
By: Danito Nsubuga
On Saturday 22nd July, the Cranes will play hosts to the Bright stars of South Sudan at Phillip Omondi stadium Lugogo in the return leg of the East-Central zone qualifiers of the 2018 CHAN tournament to be held in Kenya next year.
The Cranes only managed to share spoils with South Sudan last week after failing to convert a host of chances including a missed penalty by Geoffrey Sserunkuuma against a team ranked 148th on the current FIFA World football rankings. But the National team Coach Micho Sredejovic is confident that the pedigree and experience gained from the Cranes’ past attempts at the CHAN qualifiers is a good platform for Uganda to bank on coming into this decisive match. He says,
” We need to look into our selves and the history of the competition, out of the past 4 editions, Uganda has only missed out on one, and our performance has been progressive every time we took part, we have not conceded in any away qualifying match and we expect to build on that record, it should give us enough confidence and belief. “
He however identifies a big concern about the lack of coordination and preparedness due to the fact that the team has not had enough time to gel and knit together due to KCCA’s involvement in continental engagements and the closure of the league.
” One group of players around 7 or 9 have been occupied with KCCA in CAF competitions are both mentally and physically exhausted, where as the rest have been inactive after the closure of the league, but we tried to keep them occupied with some friendly games and the Cranes Namutima drive, we have had some time together to acclimatise with the ground at Lugogo .
But he further emphasises that the team should not dwell on such excuses,
” I am satisfied with the commitment of the players, we are mentally strong, tactically prepared and physically fit for the challenge. I believe in the team leadership of Geoffrey Sserunkuma and his assistants Bernard Muwanga and Nicholas Wadada.”
Micho also reserved a mention for some of his younger players like Milton Karisa and Shafik Kagimu who are seriously trying to penetrate into the senior team and forcing themselves into his plans.
The Serbian tactician concluded by warning his team against petulance and the possible shock that the South Sudanese can cause,
” We all saw what they are capable of doing especially after the previous match in Juba, we have to respect our opponents since football results are not easy to establish in advance but we should not over respect them. Most importantly we have to respect ourselves because all the history I have talked about will count for nothing if we fail to perform and get the desired results. “
The aggregate winner between Uganda and South Sudan will face the winner between Tanzania