By Fred Kaweesi
Africa Nations Cup Qualifier (Saturday)
Uganda v Madagascar
WHEN Micho Sredojevic assumed Cranes coaching seat in May last year, his principle concern was how to resolve the team’s scoring troubles.
The first idea that the Serbian had was to restructure the team’s attacking play.
He chose to expand Cranes’ goal scoring threat by encouraging midfielders to get into scoring positions rather than restrict the assignment to the two strikers upfront.
Coincidentally, that brought the best out of midfielder Tony Mawejje.
The switch in approach revived Mawejje, whose goals were vital for Cranes in the previous 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign and whose ‘deceptive play’ will prove vital against Madagascar on Saturday.
Mawejje, who turns out for Norwegian side Haugesund, missed Cranes’ 2-1 defeat in Madagascar, due to club engagements.
He has however returned for the weekend fixture motivated and determined to spearhead a fight-back in a manner reminiscent of the 4-0 drubbing of Congo that helped Uganda progress in the 2013 Nations Cup qualifiers after a 3-1 first leg defeat.
“I have not been able to start regularly for my club but I will slowly settle in and will soon have regular football. That will certainly not affect my performance on Saturday,” Mawejje told New Vision Sport on Monday.
“I will give 100%. I have been training well and should have no problems performing to my best standards,” he added.
And who would dispute Mawejje’s impact or influence in the Cranes team. He missed the first leg and the team lacked direction.
If his goal against Liberia in the 2014 Wold Cup qualifiers was more of team-effort, then his winner against Angola should have earned him respect.
He has improved immensely in recent months.
He has the ability to hold the ball and bring forwards into play and besides being a fi ne shooter from yards, impressively hands attacking teammates the space to run in behind defenders.
“I told Mawejje that he reminds me of Argentina’s former star Fernando Redondo. He deserves to play in a better league and I will help him to achieve that,” Micho once said of Mawejje.
In Norway, the league is of course more competitive and that should contribute to his development.
“There is more competition and the game is faster than it is in Iceland. All we need to do is work as a team,” he added.
Among the key issues Micho will try to review this entire week is how to fix the back-four that looked disjointed in the first leg.
Centre half Isaac Isinde might be considered while Isaac Muleme will battle Joseph Ochaya for a place at left-back in the absence of the suspended Godfrey Walusimbi.
With Mawejje back into the picture, Micho will also review the four-man midfield that started against the island outfit and decide who must give way for Mawejje.
Geoffrey Massa’s return in attack will offer Cranes that much-needed impetus against a Madagascar defence that looked solid.
“I am training well and picking up my fitness levels,” said Massa.
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