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With Bajope back, it can’t get better

By Vision Reporter

Added 30th May 2007 03:00 AM

Cranes tactician Laszlo Csaba’s creative midfield headache was undoubtedly healed yesterday with the arrival of lanky midfielder Assan Bajope.

Cranes tactician Laszlo Csaba’s creative midfield headache was undoubtedly healed yesterday with the arrival of lanky midfielder Assan Bajope.

Nations Cup qualifier
Saturday, SS3/SS8
Uganda v Nigeria

THE prodigal son is back.

Cranes tactician Laszlo Csaba’s creative midfield headache was undoubtedly healed yesterday with the arrival of lanky midfielder Assan Bajope.

The Ethiopian-based star returned to the national side for the first time since 2004 and immediately stated: “I am sorry.”

Bajope’s appeal for forgiveness was the expected riposte from a man who had been blacklisted from the team following a series of failed attempts to have him in the team.

The St George ace had on countless occasions overlooked invitations to the Cranes side even amidst juicy bonus offers from soccer governing body FUFA.

“The fans should forgive me for all that happened. Whatever went on was beyond my control. My club chairman and manager often stopped me from returning to the country,” he stated.

Bajope, who last appeared for Cranes in the Nations Cup qualifying trip to Ghana in 2004, had for long been perceived as the missing bond to what could have been a complete Cranes midfield.

He struck the goal that helped Cranes to an historic 1-1 draw against Ghana’s Black Stars in Accra, his second in a lin Cranes’ career after his first against Mauritius in the 2003 World/Nations Cup preliminary qualifiers.

“I am determined to play and deliver if given another chance. I promise to give my best,” he added.

And as yesterday’s training session proved, Bajope has not come along to make up the numbers and sit on the bench.

During Cranes’ first session at the Namboole main grounds, he got the nod for the A-team in a four-man midfield alongside Dan Wagaluka, Noah ‘Babadi’ Kasule and David Obua.

His commitment was clear as he harried and chased, slid into tackles, and crafted incisive final balls for forwards Hassan Mubiru and Geoffrey Massa.

Bajope’s skill, touch and vision are there for all to see although he perhaps lacks a bit in aggression.

His return should resolve Cranes’ creativity crisis that had earlier fueled consideration of Patrick Ochan as a wild card into the starting team ahead of Saturday’s Nations Cup engagement against the Super Eagles.

How well Cranes perform in the middle of the park will be the basis on which they build confidence and ultimately try to find that crucial goal.

With Bajope at the apex of Cranes’ diamond, make-shift midfielder Ibrahim Sekagya will safely be redrafted to the back in place of suspended defender Andrew Mwesigwa.

Cranes’ prevailing Achilles heel now will be how to ensure security against the provocative nature of Nigerian forwards Ayiegbeni Yakubu, Obafemi Martins and Nwankwo Kanu.

Cranes’ back four of Nestroy Kizito (who was expected yesterday), Sekagya, Timothy Batabaire and Richard Malinga have it in themselves to be our trump cards.

Much will depend on their ability to keep their cool each time they will be wound up for a penalty or free-kick.

Batabaire and Kasule make the game - a card away each from suspension and will be possible targets for infringement.

Geoffrey Sserunkuuma and Han-
nington Kalyesubula also joined
camp.

With Bajope back, it can’t get better

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