By Swalley Kenyi
FUFA have failed to secure midfielder Mike Azira for Cranes’ Africa Nations Cup qualifier against Mauritania on Saturday.
FUFA has left the midfielder out of the preliminary squad after his Major League side Seattle Sounders FC insisted they could not release him for the Cranes friendly against Malawi because the encounter doesn’t fall on a FIFA reserved date.
Malawi is camped in Kampala ahead of its Nations Cup qualifier in Benin this weekend.
The absence of Tony Mawejje and Azira for the game now leaves the Cranes coach Micho Sredojevic with Kenya based Geoffrey Kizito, Muzamil Mutyaba, Ivan Ntege and Allan Kyambadde to choose from in midfield.
Micho hopes to draw a picture of the team that will challenge Mauritania on Saturday after the Cranes’ friendly against Malawi at Namboole Stadium on Tuesday.
Godfrey Walusimbi and Kizito are already in the country from Kenya but are yet to report to camp while team captain Andy Mwesigwa, goalkeeper Denis Onyango, Moses Oloya and Luwagga Kizito are expected to join before Tuesday’s match.
A 25 man Malawi contingent jetted in Saturday night, booked at Grand Global Hotel and had a feel of the Namboole turf on Monday in preparation for the friendly.
Between Uganda and Malawi, they two have clashed 13 times in the past but the most recent result was a 1-1 draw in 2010.
Micho has played down the statistic saying that the outcome of the match will not matter because his priority is to assemble a formidable side for Saturday’s crucial qualifier.
Uganda won its first build up match 1-0 against Seychelles 1-0 on Friday.
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Azira absence deepens Cranes'' midfield woes