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Cranes' legends speak out on Uganda’s AFCON chances

By James Bakama

Added 17th June 2019 08:52 AM

Football today is such that the gap between the traditional giants and others has reduced so much resulting in closer contests, says Paul Ssali.

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Uganda Cranes is set for AFCON. PHOTO: FUFA

Football today is such that the gap between the traditional giants and others has reduced so much resulting in closer contests, says Paul Ssali.

 
They have been to the Nations Cup and know exactly what it takes to shine. Tom Lwanga, Paul Ssali, Polly Ouma and Jimmy Kirunda give their take on Uganda’s chances.
 
Tom Lwanga - My fears came true with Uganda being drawn with Egypt, DR. Congo, and Zimbabwe. We are in one of the toughest groups.
 
We shall have to be at our very best if we are to get out of the group. That’s not impossible. Remember that even in 1978 we were underdogs but ended up topping our group.
 
Paul Ssali - It’s all about attitude. If the Cranes have it in their heads that they can win, then they will indeed get the results. Football today is such that the gap between the traditional giants and others has reduced so much resulting in closer contests.
 
So all that Uganda has to do is put their act together and do things right. Discipline will, therefore, be key. They can, of course, borrow a leaf from our 1978 outing and the sky will be the limit. We travelled to Ghana confident that we could take on the very best. The rest is history. The Cranes can indeed do it.
 
Samuel Baker Kasigwa - We have in recent years developed a solid defence. It is led by Africa’s best goalkeeper. That’s very good. All strong teams are built from defence.
 
But it is also time we strengthened our striking line. That’s the only way we shall take our game to the next level. It’s the only way we can get out of the group. You can’t progress if you are not scoring goals.
 
If you look the 1978 Cranes side it had great attacking players like Phillip Omondi, Abbey Nasur, Godfrey Kisitu, and Jimmy Muguwa. In our time we people like Jimmy Ssewava, John Kaddu and of course yours truly. We could penetrate any defence.
 
Jimmy Kirunda - We are in a tough group. But that in itself should serve as a wakeup call. We should also go out there and put up a very good fight. If we do things right then our opponents could be in for a surprise.
 
Polly Ouma - Ouma who starred in 1968, 74 and 76 finals, however, has a different view of the current Cranes. “Our chances are minimal. I don’t see us getting out of the group,” he says complaining that the local soccer governing body FUFA has been hijacked by opportunists.
 
“It is all about eating. Everyone is stuffing his stomach.” He says legends like him have been sidelined. “Go to any serious federation and you will find veterans like me in advisory roles. That does not happen in Uganda.”
 
He further scoffs at the team’s preparations. “What’s there to learn in Abu Dhabi. People must be there just to admire buildings. In our time we prepared in Germany and Brazil. There is much to learn from such countries. That’s why even Kenya has chosen France. You add value with camps in such nations.”
 
 

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