Cranes in a death trap

By Fred Kaweesi

2014 World Cup qualifiers

June 8, 2013

Uganda v Liberia

June 15, 2013

Uganda v Angola

September 7, 2013

Senegal v Uganda

2014 African Nations Championship fixtures

June 22, 2013

Tanzania v Uganda

July 6, 2013

Uganda v Tanzania

Group J

Liberia 2 Uganda 0

Senegal 1 Angola 1

UGANDA Cranes were due to arrive last night. However, that wasn’t possible due to a flight change by Ethiopian airlines. 

The team will consequently arrive tomorrow morning — approximately 48 hours after their humbling 2-0 defeat to Liberia in Monrovia.

That will just be in time for the weekly media press briefing at the federation’s offices in Mengo later in the day, where Cranes coach Bobby Williamson will be tasked to justify his position and future plans for the national team —if any.

Of course, decent results in foreign territory aren’t exactly Cranes staple diet but there is a school of thought that suggests that had Cranes prepared better, with fully fit players selected from a reasonable pool of both foreign and a vibrant local league, their mission in the terrains of Monrovia could have been successfully scaled.

As it is, Ugandan football finds itself between a rock and a hard place, two months before that critical month of June that will make or break its prospects.

Uganda will have to overcome Liberia (June 8) and Angola (June 15) to revive her World Cup qualifying hopes before confronting Tanzania (June 22) in a two-leg playoff to qualify for the Africa Nations Championships.

There are fears that Uganda’s chances in the CHAN championship —a tournament specifically arranged for local-based players —might be affected by the enduring troubles in domestic football.

This, considering the fact, that the team’s opponents Tanzania thumped Morocco 3-0 with a side of predominantly local-based players.

“There is no need for alarm. When the team returns, we will review the game and plan for the next games,” FUFA Vice President (technical) Livingstone Kyambadde told New Vision Sport yesterday before adding, “Our plan is to prepare a team for the 2015 Africa Nations Cup.”

“We are rebuilding the team and it’s a gradual process. We had a number of young players on the team that we offered an opportunity,” Kyambadde added of the game decided by strikes from Patrick Wureh and dangerman Anthony Laffor.

“We selected the right team for the Liberia game. Those were the players available.

“We chose a team that we thought was capable of winning. That’s why we fielded four attacking players (Mike Mutyaba, Geoffrey Massa, Emmanuel Okwi and Moses Oloya).

In a nutshell, since ‘qualifying for the World Cup is a farfetched dream’, the on-going World Cup qualifiers are being utilised to add valuable experience to the breed of promising youngsters coming through the team’s ranks.

In Monrovia, Cranes assembled a side whose average age is 25.

Although the likes of Isaac Isinde, Denis Iguma, Godfrey Kizito, Joseph Ochaya and Said Kyeyune proved their qualities in the concluded CECAFA Challenge Cup, in truth, all they did was to confirm they have unfulfilled potential.

Uganda has two points from draws against Angola and Senegal but could seal progress to the final bend of the qualifiers if they can win all three of their last qualifiers against the two sides and Liberia later this year.

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