By Fred Kaweesi
AWARE of the physical approach that Burkina Faso will employ during their first Africa Nations Championship fixture on Sunday, Micho Sredojevic has opted to lace Cranes’ final drills with gruelling gym exercises.
Like is with all West African opposition, Burkina Faso are expected to be gangly with an average height of 6ft plus.
This means the West Africans are bound to territorially dominate Uganda’s Group B match at Athlone Stadium. To counter that, coach Micho has spent a significant part of the team’s sessions in the last 48 hours working on the players’ stamina.
“We want to be committed and competitive. We really want to be strong to be able to match the big teams,” he said.
Apart from the West African challenge, Micho has also drawn a strategy that will counter the Southern Africa (Zimbabwe) and North African (Morocco) styles of play.
“I have been in African football long enough to know what each of our group opponents will throw at us. We will approach each differently,” he added.
South African football is more about ball retention and individual improvisation while North African sides rely more on technique, ball possession and nimble short-passing combinations.
Micho is adamant that his young side has learnt the patience required to handle away pressure.
“They have the passion to do well,” he pointed.
Of course, Micho has earned the right to look pleased with himself in recent games but if he allows complacency to creep in, the wheels will come off in Cape Town.
He has preferred a 4-3-3 formation for some games and the Cranes have seemed comfortable with it. A few will argue that the temptation to be cautious is fine especially against superior opposition. But sometimes you can be too cautious and play straight into the hands of the opposition.
All that Cranes should target is a winning start as the positives that come with that are too precious.
Goalkeepers: Ochan Benjamin (SCVU), Watenga Ismail (Vipers), and Kimera Ali (SCVU)
Defenders: Iguma Denis (SCVU), Martin Mpuga (SCVU), Kasagga Richard (Kira Young), Muleme Isaac (SCVU), Kabugo Savio (SCVU), Namwanja Simon (Proline), Nicholas Wadada (Vipers)
Midfielders: Ntambi Julius (Kira Young), Kyeyune Said (URA), Kyambade Allan (Express), Kayizzi Vincent (Vipers), Mugerwa Yasser (SCVU), Brian Majwega (KCCA), Ivan Ntege (KCCA), Mpande Joseph (Vipers), Hassan Waswa (KCCA)
Forwards: Asiku Crespo (Bul fc), Olaki Francis (Soana), Kasumba Umar (Police), Okwi Simon (SCVU), Sentamu Yunus (Vipers)