Sport
Uganda Cranes going for the attackPublish Date: May 31, 2014
Uganda Cranes going for the attack
  • mail
  • img
Emmanuel Okwi relishes a light moment during training
newvision

By James Bakama

Going by the FIFA rankings an encounter between Madagascar and Uganda should be a no contest. The Indian Ocean island is 103 places behind Uganda on the world football governing body’s performance scale.

The Cranes were two weeks ago however given a rude awakening of how deceptive FIFA’s rankings can be. Uganda was beaten 2-1 by a visibly better playing Madagascar in the first leg of Nations Cup preliminaries.

As the Cranes take on the Barea in the return leg at Namboole today, the 1-0 target that the hosts have to advance would appear an easy task. But just like in the first leg, the Cranes could be in for a huge surprise if they don’t take the visitors seriously.

The recent loss wasn’t the first time that Madagascan triumph over Uganda was happening. In qualifiers for the 1984 Nations Cup finals, the same opponents beat Uganda 1-0 in Madagascar. Uganda won the return leg 2-1 but Madagascar advanced on strength of the away goals rule.

“We can only take them lightly at our own peril,” warned a member of that Cranes side Paul Ssali.

“They are ball players like Ethiopia. If we play to their rhythm, we are finished,” cautioned Ssali.

Ssali, who kept the posts that time, wants Uganda to be aggressive.

“We should be more physical and also make use of the long ball.”


The good news is that Micho will be leading a highly motivated team

Tom Lwanga, who was KCC coach when they played Madagascar’s BFV in 1991 shares a similar view. The physical game had good dividends for Lwanga just like it had also earlier paid off for SC Villa in 1983.

KCC lost the first leg 1-0 but won 3-1 in Kampala to advance in the Africa Cup Winners Cup. Villa had been more imposing in the Africa Club Championship winning 4-2 at Nakivubo before battling to a 1-1 result in Antananarivo.

There is cause to be optimistic today. Contrary to the first leg when Micho Sredojevich lacked the bulk of his first team, the Serbian tactician is this time spoilt for choice. Micho not only has all the players he needs, but will also be favoured by a familiar ground.

The artificial turf in Rabemanjara Mahajanga Stadium had the Cranes struggling.

The ground seemed to give the ball an unfamiliar bounce that always disoriented the visitors. The Cranes also have a passionate home crowd to bank on.

The unfriendly entry fees notwithstanding, Ugandans should turn up in big numbers to cheer on their team. A bad result for the Cranes will have them out of serious international action until late next year.

If Uganda advances it will be up against one more hurdle before getting to the group stage. Whoever qualifies tonight faces the winner between Mauritania and Equatorial Guinea.

The good news is that Micho will be leading a highly motivated team that is well aware of what is at stake.

“We have critically studied the tape of the first leg and will be leaving nothing to chance. We badly need this win and we shall be seriously going for it,” Micho assured Ugandans.


Also related to this story

Uganda Cranes going for the attack

Cranes unveil new home kit ahead of Madagascar game

Uganda Cranes stumble in Madagascar

Zambia 2 Uganda Cranes 1

The statements, comments, or opinions expressed through the use of New Vision Online are those of their respective authors, who are solely responsible for them, and do not necessarily represent the views held by the staff and management of New Vision Online.

New Vision Online reserves the right to moderate, publish or delete a post without warning or consultation with the author.Find out why we moderate comments. For any questions please contact digital@newvision.co.ug

  • mail
  • img
blog comments powered by Disqus
Also In This Section
Uganda begins quest for Commonwealth glory
UGANDA’S quest for medals at the 20th Commonwealth Games starts off with a badminton encounter against Kenya. The two nations clash in one of the opening fixtures of the mixed group encounters...
German motocross trainer starts work
GERMAN motocross trainer Jurgen Kuper started training the national team in preparation for the FIM Africa Central Africa Motocross championship in Nairobi next month...
Bolt, Farah and Wiggins lend Commonwealth sparkle
Sporting household names such as Usain Bolt, Mo Farah and Bradley Wiggins will add some welcome sparkle to the 20th Commonwealth Games that get under way in Glasgow...
Commonwealth Games: Opening ceremony tribute to MH17 victims
The 2014 Commonwealth Games opening ceremony in Glasgow today will include a tribute to victims of the Malaysia Airlines MH17 flight disaster, organisers said....
Cheptegei wins gold at World Junior Championships
Joshua Cheptegei has won Uganda their fourth gold medal at the World Junior championships that started Tuesday in Eugene, America...
Commonwealth Games set to open today in Glasgow
Today, the curtains will rise on one of the biggest sporting events. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth will declare the 20th Commonwealth Games open in Celtic Park, home of Scotland’s biggest football club Celtic....
Should government review powers of kings?
Yes
No
Can't Say
follow us
subscribe to our news letter