By Fred Kaweesi
A lot of water has flowed below the bridge since Cranes confronted Africa champions Zambia in Ndola.
Apart from changes in playing staff due to either injury setbacks or successful rehabilitation in Cranes’ sake, both sides will also march into tomorrow’s decisive Nations Cup qualifier with different tactical plans.
But whichever strategy Cranes opt to take at Namboole Stadium, they will certainly have more bite, better application and more spirit that should propel them to glory if Bobby Williamson and midfielder Hassan Wasswa meant every word on Thursday.
“We are ready for them (Zambia). We have played them before and know what to expect. This is the game of our lives. It’s our lifetime opportunity,” Wasswa stated after Cranes penultimate training.
The talk has been done, promises made but against the African champions Cranes will need a lot more from every department, more so from the back-four in a game.
Uganda will not afford to concede. “We will have to defend better than we did during that moment when we conceded that goal against them in Ndola because such a situation will still come up.
We will need to concentrate and stay focused throughout the game,” was the message Williamson pointed yesterday and will remind his charges in the dressing room before they walk out for the game.
With just 24 hours to go, the Scot knows his first team and if there are any last minute changes it will be in one particular area in attack.
In goal, Denis Onyango will retain his starting place although Abbey Dhaira is such a capable deputy that Onyango will not be excused for any school boy errors.
Godfrey Walusimbi and Simeon Masaba will man the full-back positions on the left and right respectively with Andrew Mwesigwa and Henry Kalungi stationed in the centre of defence.
While Hassan Wasswa and Godfrey Kizito are automatic choices in midfield, it would be interesting to see if Williamson will consider Sula Matovu ahead of Tony Mawejje, Brian Umony and Mike Sserumuga.
Unlike Sserumaga, both Mawejje and Umony are not direct competitors with Matovu but either would still qualify for a place if the idea was to play a 4-3-3 formation.
Cranes will play an attacking game, applying consistent pressure on the visitors with speed and power through central strikers Geoffrey Massa and Emmanuel Okwi and in the wide areas with support coming through full backs Masaba and Walusimbi.
However, Masaba and Walusimbi will have to recover soon after every attack as Zambia’s game plan often exploit spaces left behind by full backs.
They get men behind the ball, congest the midfield and break extremely fast on the counter with Christopher Katongo and Emmanuel Mayuka switching into spaces behind the full backs.