NEVER has Ugandan football invested so much into â€˜beliefâ€™ than this evening, when Cranesâ€™ 2012 Nations Cup qualifying credentials will be severely scrutinized at the Lino Correia stadium.
Cranesâ€™ statisticians will legitimately claim the odds are against Coach Bobby Williamsonâ€™s side that has never won a qualifying fixture in West Africa.
And just like all the Critics, they will continue to hold doubts over the sideâ€™s mental strengths on the back of disappointing results away to Lesotho (0-0), Benin (4-1) and Niger (3-1), despite taking the lead in the final two qualifiers.
Yet if itâ€™s meant to all come good, even the most weak-hearted fan would have to look to the fixture against Guinea Bissau that will ultimately determine whether Cranes progress to the 2012 finals.
Guinea not easy
That is not meant to say that Guinea Bissau will be easy prey. In fact, it might turn out to be the stiffest challenge in the while.Itâ€™s just that Cranes must win away to guarantee a realistic chance of qualifying. It didnâ€™t happen against Kenya in Nairobi and might be harder against Angola in Luanda in September.
A win or worst a draw will be basic requirement. â€œWe will try to do everything and win. We need something from this game to stay top. All the guys are focused,â€ Cranes captain Ibrahim Sekagya stated.
With the huge expectations of the entire nation firmly placed on his managerial instincts, even the broad-shouldered Williamson will feel the burden of the Herculean task somewhat too heavy to bear.
Guinea Bissau, whose South American style of play stems from the fact that the entire team is clustered with players that were bred in Portugal and Spain have had one objective every time theyâ€™ve stepped onto the football pitch â€“entertain and score goals.
Although Bissau could manage just a goal against neighbours Kenya for their 1-0 win, it could have been more. They exhibited finesse and astute movement in training, on and off the ball, and Cranes ought to fall back often when without possession.
They are bound to territorially dominate the game, meaning Williamson will call upon every bit of muscle from his physically endowed players to strike a counter-balance particularly in midfield and defence.
Hard work needed
For Cranes to earn a momentous win, the team will have to play out of their skins.
The key to success will be keeping a clean sheet though with the likes of Fernandes Mendes nicknamed Niche to contend with, it will prove a massive task. Williamson is likely to switch between a 4-4-2 or 4-5-1 formations, with Geoffrey Massa starting just behind the lone front-man David Obua.
Cranes v. Guinea: No place for faint hearts