By Fred Kaweesi
Nations Cup qualifier
Madagascar v Uganda (Sunday, 3pm)
Geoffrey Massa will not be available for Uganda’s 2015 Nations Cup first leg fixture against Madagascar at the Rabemananjara Syadium in Mahajanga.
The 27-year-old is still struggling with a muscle problem on his right thigh and has been advised by his club to resume training after 14 days.
“I will not be fi t for the game. I have been advised to rest. I should be fi t for the return leg,” Massa, who turns out for University of Pretoria, told New Vision on Monday.
Massa scored the all-important goal as his club edged Mpumulanga Black Aces on Saturday but had to be replaced on 76 minutes after aggravating his muscle injury.
“I regret he will not be part of the team away. We really needed his experience in the game. I will have to readjust our strategy,” Cranes tactician Micho Sredojevic pointed out.
Massa’s withdrawal means Micho could choose to start with Hamis Kiiiza alongside Emmanuel Okwi.
Uganda Cranes players in a previous training session. FILE PHOTO/Mpalanyi Ssentongo
Uganda playing Zambia in a previous encounter.
Micho has already been deprived of Denis Onyango’s experienced hands and Moses Oloya’s attacking industry.
However, although midfield maestro Tony Mawejje was still doubtful due to club commitments, Micho must have been pleased with the arrival of Geoffrey Kizito, Khalid Aucho and Daniel Sserunkuuma Monday.
The Serbian expects Robert Odongkara and Isaac Isinde this morning. Micho’s other concern though is that the fixture will be played on an artificial surface.
“I have just been told. I am now working around shifting our training sessions to Njeru, where we have a similar turf,” he added.
But why would an artificial turf raise eyebrows? In 2011, Cranes secured a remarkable 1-0 win away in Guinea Bissau playing under sweltering temperatures and an uncomfortable artificial pitch.
“We have had five sessions and I am pleased with the attitude in camp. It will not be an easy game. I am aware that they (Madagascar) have a pool of players playing in various leagues in Europe,” he added.
AFCON qualifier: Mass unfit, Cranes to play on artificial turf