By Swalley Kenyi
CAF U-17 championship qualifier: Uganda v Rwanda (2pm)
Africa Nations Cup qualifier: Uganda v Mauritania (5pm)
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In the face of what is at stake in the game against Mauritania on Saturday, Cranes coach Micho Sredojevic has warned that none of the players in his squad is guaranteed a starting place.
The Serb urged the players to work hard if any of them is to be named on the starting 11 for the Africa Nations Cup qualifier at Namboole.
The team is left with two training sessions before the match and Micho said that he has dedicated the rest of the time for his strikers to ‘find their scoring boots’.
The Cranes have not scored more than a goal in an Africa Nations Cup qualifier match since 2012 when team captain Andy Mwesigwa, Godfrey Walusimbi, Geoffrey Massa and Emmanuel Okwi scored in a 4-0 win against Congo Brazzaville at Namboole.
Micho concedes that although he is optimistic the trend will be different, it still bothers him that in the recent home friendly matches they only managed 1-0 against Seychelles and 0-0 with Malawi.
“We are working really hard because I’m not happy. We are fully aware that we are going to play against a very good team so our defensive discipline and attacking power must work for us,” Micho said yesterday.
“We are working as a team and I have a promise from the players to find their scoring boots. We are going to concentrate on creating chances and taking them in our remaining sessions. I can say Ugandans should expect a different trend,” he added.
He warned that however good the Mauritanians are, they should not expect much respect at Namboole.
Micho further down sized his squad by releasing Nicholas Wadada, Murshid Juuko and Muzamil Mutyaba from the camp.
In a bid to motivate the team, Tamarai Thai Restaurant hosted the Uganda Cranes for a dinner last night.
Cranes sponsors Airtel Uganda will stage buses near the Kibuye roundabout, Nakivubo stadium, Wandegeya and Kinawataka to ferry fans to Namboole. Airtel Manager Brand Assets and Properties Noela Byuma said all a fan needs to board the bus is the match ticket of any category. Tickets went on sale on Wednesday.
The visitors, who jetted in on Wednesday have been joined by their French League 1 trio of Adama Ba (SC Bastia), Camara Khassa (Troyes) and Aboul Iba (Lens), N’Diaye Oumar (Luzenac, Ligue 2).
Mauritanian coach Jean Raymond Patrice Neveu came to Kampala worried about Martin Mutumba but was relieved when he learnt that the midfielder was not in camp.
Neveu has promised to soil the Uganda Cranes unbeaten run at Namboole or at least secure a draw, on which they would build to complete the job in the return leg at Stade Olympique de Nouakchott on August 2.
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Fight for your place, Micho tells Cranes players