By Fred Kaweesi
Bobby Williamson will be in position to fully assess Cranes’ match-winning strategy for this weekend’s decisive Nations Cup qualifier against Zambia following the arrival of virtually the entire foreign-based legion of stars.
Team custodian Denis Onyango, captain Andrew Mwesigwa, Patrick Ochan and strikers Emmanuel Okwi and Hamis Kiiza ensured the Scot’s preparations do not suffer any kind of derailment by reporting for duty soon after arriving.
And with the likes of Tony Mawejje and Abbey Dhaira already in camp, the feeling within the team is best described as perfect ahead of a game Cranes need to win by a 2-0 result to guarantee qualification for the 2013 Nations Cup tournament in South Africa.
If Williamson opts for his preferred 4-4-2 formation against the African champions, it will be interesting to see which players start in midfield and up-front, where both strikers Geoffrey Massa and Brian Umony return to the side after missing the 1-0 first leg defeat due to injury.
At Namboole Stadium today, Williamson will assess Okwi and Kiiza’s fitness levels before experimenting various attacking combinations with hope of identifying the most appropriate for the assignment ahead.
Okwi led Cranes’ attack in the first leg with minimal impact and on the evidence of how he and Mike Sserumagga struggled against Zambia’s defence, Cranes will need Massa’s pace and energy to open the Zambian back-four commanded by the gangly and physical Stophira Sunzu.
If Williamson is tempted to stick with the attack that obliterated Congo Brazzaville 4-0 in June, then Okwi and Umony could all start against Zambia and run the channels well like they did against Congo Brazzaville.
But the two will still need Massa to draw the attention of Sunzu and Hichani Himoonde if they are to stand a chance of sniffing on goal.
The other puzzle at hand for Williamson is which figures to consider for the wide areas.
Oloya is most likely to start on the right simply because of his capacity for the unexpected but who will occupy the left side? Will Williamson opt for an extra striker or consider the energetic Sula Matovu?
Now that Mudde Musa has recovered from the ankle problem that forced him out of the last three international games, what are his chances of starting in midfield ahead of the likes of Hassan Wasswa, Tony Mawejje, Godfrey Kizito, Patrick Ochan and Tony Mawejje?
This and a couple of other issues are what Williamson will review during the team’s training sessions at Namboole Stadium from today till Friday morning.