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Okhuti under scrutiny ahead of crunch Zambia tie

By Fred Kaweesi

Added 23rd January 2016 06:20 PM

Against Mali, both Okhuti and Ssentongo were ineffective as Miya took the game by the scruff of the neck

Okhuti under scrutiny ahead of crunch Zambia tie

Against Mali, both Okhuti and Ssentongo were ineffective as Miya took the game by the scruff of the neck

When the stakes are at their peak, you need to entirely rely on what you trust most.


In the event that what you trust most isn't readily available, you need your most experienced guns to come to the fore.


That's precisely what Cranes coach Micho Sredejovic will expect from his most experienced members in the Cranes team following the absence of first team star Farouk Miya and goalkeeper Ismail Watenga.


The Serbian's principal message during the team's pre-match debriefing at Belvedere Hotel this morning before setting off for the make-or-break fixture against Zambia will challenge the likes of Caesar Okhuti and Robert Ssentongo.


The two veteran strikers have fallen in the shadow of the youthful Miya in recent games.

Against Mali, both Okhuti and Ssentongo were ineffective as Miya took the game by the scruff of the neck with an assist and second goal as Cranes held the West Africans to a 2-2 draw.


The other attacking veteran Geoffrey Sserunkuuma, who has not played for more than 10 minutes since his shocking return to the Cranes fold, was watching from the bench. And yet all three —Okhuti, Ssentongo and Sserunkuuma -are quality strikers.


On a good day, all three can decide a game of such a magnitude.


The Cranes faithful, who will trek the four-hour journey from Kigali to Umuganda Stadium, will only hope that that ‘good day' is today as the rewards for a win a very clear.


Only victory will do for a Cranes side that will want to avoid the mathematics that will come with a draw marching into their last game against Zimbabwe.


A loss will definitely end Uganda's interests in the championship.


Two days ago, Micho hinted that his side was united. At the astro-turf stadium, Cranes' togetherness, the desire to accept the ball in the tightest of situations, with colleagues always making space to help out will be extremely fundamental against a Zambian side that will be riding high in confidence.


Left-back Joseph Ochaya admitted that the task of assuming Miya's responsibilities as captain was fairly herculean.


He will however shake each of his teammates' hand by hand, and where necessary offer words of encouragement as they prepare to confront a team that also denied them the opportunity of making the 2013 Africa Nations Cup after a dramatic shoot-out at Namboole Stadium.


The pain in Zambia's ranks will stem from veterans Christopher Katongo and Isaac Chansa, -two stars that were part of the Zambian side that won the 2012 Nations Cup tournament in Gabon.


Defenders Richard Kasagga and Bernard Muwanga will have to deliver their best performances yet to contain the two.


If Ivan Ntege can shield the two and feed Keziron Kizito, then attacking midfielder Muzamir Mutyaba will prove dreadful and probably decisive in finding the right balls for strikers Erisa Sekisambu, Okhuti and Ssentongo.


Mutyaba has grown in leaps and bounds over the last one year and would be the preferred candidate to assume Miya's attacking duties.


The KCCA star has wonderful passing and dribbling skills. He has good vision and movement -two qualities that have occasionally also helped find that odd goal.


Mutyaba can defend, when need be, attack, create and score. That's precisely what Cranes need!

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