Why Cranes must be extremely careful
By Fred Kaweesi
Live on CBS 89.2fm
Madagascar v Uganda
Micho Sredojevic has preached against complacency each time Cranes have regrouped this entire week for their daily training sessions.
Even at Sky Hotel, where the team has been accommodated, the Serb has found time and reminded his youthful charges of the repercussions in-waiting, if ‘lowly’ Madagascar are allowed to dictate play this Sunday at the Rabemananjara Stadium in Mahajanga.
“I have had to because I am aware that a majority of their players are based in Europe,” Micho stated earlier.
And he has a point, a serious one at that.
You only need to look through the current Madagascar side to appreciate Micho’s concerns and the fact that Cranes will have to engage second gear if they are to survive in Mahajanga.
FUFA President Eng. Moses Magogo and Cranes Coach Micho. Photo by Johnson Were
To start with, unlike Cranes, half of the Madagascar team ply their professional football in respectable leagues across Europe.
Nine members of their side, Jean Raharison (goalkeeper), defenders Albert Rafetraniaina, Pascal Razakanantenaina, Sedera Randriamparany, midfielders Johann Paul, Lalaina Nomenjanahary (pictured right), Stephan Raheriharimanana, strikers Paulin Voavy and Claudio Ramiadamanana all turn out for French clubs.
The other two attacking players Ibrahim Amada and Faed Arsene play in Algeria (USM El Harrach) and Belgium (Charleroi).
If Madagascar are going to make an impact against the Cranes, it will require their holy trinity of Nomenjanahary, Patrick Samba and Carolus Andriamatsinoro to be firing on all cylinders.
Nomenjanahary is a central figure in the team’s attacking plans.
He has a calm and assured presence in possession while Andriamatsinoro’s ability to read the game and bring team-mates into play are important attributes in a side that is reported to get flustered when things do not go its way.
Samba is also an astute dribbler who has grown in stature with Zambian club Green Buffaloes.
Madagascar’s current match statistics are appalling.
Apart from losing virtually all their recent competitive games, they are also currently placed 189th in the FIFA World rankings.
But it could also be a risk reading too much into this.
Why? Because Madagascar, just like the other Island outfits such as Cape Verde and Guinea Bissau, have embraced a system of naturalising talent from various parts of Europe, with hope of matching the best on the continent.
The squads keep changing and you never know what’s coming until you confront them.
It might not have worked enough in the past, but Madagascar will continue to look at their best ever result —the 1-0 win over Egypt at home during the 2004 African Cup of Nations qualifiers —for inspiration.
Yesterday, FUFA official Patrick Ogwel travelled to Madagascar as an advance party to prepare for the team’s arrival later today.
“I am pleased with the attitude in camp. The group is motivated,” Micho told New Vision early this week.
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