By Fred Kaweesi
2015 Nations Cup qualifier September 5
Ghana v Uganda
If there is a player well qualified to advise on anything about Cranes and competitive football, it has to be Ibrahim Sekagya.
Despite falling short of leading Uganda to a major championship, the former Cranes captain has competed at the very highest level in Africa, Europe and South America to understand the nitty-gritties of succeeding at the highest level.
So when the New York Red Bulls star talks of Cranes defying the odds and qualifying for their first major event since 1978 with the right preparations, his thoughts should be highly regarded.
“I would want to congratulate the team for making it to the group stages. It was an achievement and I feel if the team is prepared well, they can go on to surprise everyone in that group,” Sekagya told New Vision after his side’s 2-1 win over New England Revolution.
The Cranes are clear underdogs in Group E of their 2015 Nations Cup qualifiers that also includes favourites Ghana, Togo and Guinea.
Unlike in the past, where qualifiers have run the course of approximately a year, the 2015 qualifiers will be held in just three months.
The group matches will be played on September 5-6 and September 10; October 10-11 and October 15; November 14-15 and November 19. Group winners and runners up will go through to the 2015 finals, as will the best third placed side and the hosts Morocco.
Suffice it to say, that this is where the real tests begin —tests against West African opposition that continue to frustrate Ugandan teams.
But before retirement, Sekagya faced and passed tests against West African stars such as Nwankwo Kanu, Yakubu Ayigebeni, Obafemi Martins (Nigeria), and a Ghanaian side that had the likes of Asamoah Gyan, Michael Essien and Steven Appiah.
Although he concedes that the task at hand for Cranes will prove exceedingly phenomenal, such is the striking aspect of football that according to Sekagya no team is indomitable. “In football, there is nothing impossible.
Cranes simply have to believe. I hope the team will be well prepared because that’s very important. They need to play friendly games with the right opposition,” Sekagya added.
“When you look through the team, you see players with determination. They will need all the necessary support especially for the away games,” he added.
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Ibrahim Sekagya backs Cranes