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Tuesday,November 20,2018 02:33 AM

Abbas cracks the whip

By Vision Reporter

Added 10th October 2004 03:00 AM

Cranes coach Muhammed Abbas' arrival in Uganda was amidst intense cynicism. The timing of his signing; his allegiance and qualifications were all questioned.
But two weeks into the tactician's contract, general opinion is already changing.

Cranes coach Muhammed Abbas' arrival in Uganda was amidst intense cynicism. The timing of his signing; his allegiance and qualifications were all questioned.
But two weeks into the tactician's contract, general opinion is already changing.
By the time I wrote this piece, Uganda was yet to take on fancied South Africa. But whatever the result of the World Cup qualifier, the coach's contribution is worth noting.
Abbas started off by battling that casual attitude typical of our football. Those who thought they could lose a ball and walk, were given a rude awakening by the jettisoning of strikers Joseph Kabagambe and Geoffrey Sseruunkuma for laziness.
The era of untouchables also seems to have ended with the advent of Abbas.
But while the likes of Hassan Mubiru, who initially needed pampering before joining camp, seem to be finally growing up under Abbas, some officials remain stuck in the past.
Team manager Asuman Lubowa, who couldn't effect a directive to sack veterans Phillip Obwiny and Joseph Mutyaba, is still as indecisive as ever.
Paul Ssali, the man who kept sentry of Cranes goal in that historic 1978 outing, is also ironically yet to measure up to the demands of a goalkeeper trainer.
The high frequency with which Ssali dashed in and out of camp had Abbas questioning the trainer’s patriotism..
Abbas' grip on the team has mainly been felt in those seemingly small but crucial things that Ugandans always ignore. You no longer hear stories of players dancing the nights away.
Under Abbas, just like in his predecessor Mike Mutebi's reign, the 10.30pm lights out rule has to be followed with monastic discipline. Keys are left outside doors for easy access by the coach on his routine check ups.
I hope that assistant coach Mutebi, whose otherwise good understanding of soccer is undermined by his acidic tongue, has picked something from his boss.
Abbas won't call a player an idiot for a blunder. Like a true teacher, he identifies a problem and then helps out his student.
It's an approach that everyone is appreciating including the professionals, who are now too eager to be in camp.
What remains is for the players to muster the necessary discipline.
Ends

Abbas cracks the whip

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