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Confidence high among Cranes ahead of CHANPublish Date: Jan 07, 2014
Confidence high among Cranes ahead of CHAN
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Joseph Mpande and Hassan Wasswa take part in a gym session on Monday while Yasser Mugerwa (left) looks on. Photo by Mpalanyi Ssentongo
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By Fred Kaweesi

CRANES are riding high in confidence ahead of the Africa Nations Championship (CHAN) that starts this weekend.

And the reason is plain simple. According to Micho Sredojevic, the appeal of playing at a major competition such as CHAN is so huge that the Serb has not had to engage any gears motivating his side.

To the Serb, the motivation is already there and all he needs now is fi x a few areas that have seen his troops operate at just 70% of their potential.

“At this stage, the last thing I need to be concerned about is motivation. If there is a player here that isn’t, then they are in the wrong place. This is a great opportunity for each of them and I have not had to remind them of that,” Micho stated after yesterday’s training.

Micho intends to spend the next couple of days improving his side’s physical aspects considering Burkina Faso’s aggressive approach.

Like is with all West African opposition, the average height of the entire Burkina Faso side is likely to be above 6ft plus, which means the West Africans are bound to territorially dominate in the air.

Micho will have to call upon every bit of muscle and instinctive movement into the final third of the pitch, from his attacking unit to strike a counter-balance. 

“We will achieve that. We are in the third and final phase now, which is principally polishing a few areas of our game,” Micho told New Vision Sport yesterday.

“Our fitness is high up there and our tactical plan is also encouraging. We are between 60 and 70% now. We only need to fix a few areas to be fully ready for the tournament,” he added.

Cranes’ group matches will be played at the Athlone Stadium which is situated on the outskirts of Cape Town.

The 34,000-capacity Stadium, which was built in 1972, is used mostly for football matches and is the home ground of relegated ABSA Premiership club Santos.

The stadium was upgraded in the lead up to the 2010 FIFA World Cup with the intention of using it as a training venue.

Upgrades were done on its new West, North and South grandstands, additional parking areas, VIP suites, better player facilities (including four change rooms) and floodlights.

One of the most significant upgrades was a new pitch, with quality similar to that of the Cape Town Stadium that hosted several World Cup games in 2010.

Cape Town is ready to host Cranes and the other sides including South Africa that will use Mother City as their base.

According to the city’s Mayoral Committee Member for Tourism, Events and Marketing Grant Pascoe; “Capetonians have dusted off their vuvuzelas. A spectacular opening ceremony is also being planned.”

Unlike Cranes who travel to Cape Town on Thursday, their group opponents Burkina Faso and Morocco arrived yesterday to fully acclamatize to South Africa weather.

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