Saturday, May 28, 2022

Micho believes in the Cranes

Ugandan head coach, Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojevic, is oozing with confidence that his side has what it takes to reach the third round of the 2014 World Cup qualifiers despite facing a tough challenge away to powerhouse Senegal on the last day of the group stages.

The Cranes face Senegal in a Group 10 match to be staged at a neutral Stade de Marrakesh Stadium in Morocco on Saturday night with kick off set for 8pm.

Senegal leads the group with nine points followed closely by Uganda on eight going into the final day. This has made the game to be more interesting with the winner set to proceed. A draw would work to the advantage of the Teranga Lions who top the group.

Both sides meet in North Africa because of political instability in Senegal and Sredojevic believes that the venue might work to their advantage.

“With due respect to West Africans, there is something which they do off the field which always work against the visiting sides. It is not easy to go there and get a victory but with the game to be played in Marrakesh, yes I fancy our chances that we can win,” Sredojevic told journalists in Gaborone.

The Cranes played against the Zebras in an international friendly game at the refurbished National Stadium in Gaborone yesterday. He pointed out that the game against the Zebras came at the right time as most of their players have not had a competitive game since the last time they faced Angola in the World Cup qualifier in June.

“The game against Botswana is the bridge which leads us to Marrakesh. I hope it will help us identify some weak points before the Senegal game. This game is a blessing because we’re going to play against a Senegal side which does not have worries like us. Almost 70 percent of our players have been inactive which means their fitness level is below par,” he said.

Micho was appointed the head coach for the Cranes in May, replacing Scotsman Bobby Williamson. He arrived at a time when Uganda had two points from three games but he has since led them to two home wins against Liberia (1-0) and Angola (2-1). This has put them in with a chance of proceeding to the third phase provided they win against Senegal.

“If it is a question of names then Senegal would win. But football is all about hard work and it is for that reason that I believe we can get a win. I believe in my work and I trust my players. We need to represent the 35 million Ugandans,” he said with confidence.

When commenting on other crucial World Cup qualifiers coming up, Micho said it is not going to be easy for Malawi and Zambia to go to West Africa and get positive results.

Malawi takes on Nigeria in Calabar while Zambia visits Ghana in Kumasi. All the four sides are favourites in their groups to reach the next stage of the qualifiers. His worry is that West Africans have a way of doing things that always make visiting teams uncomfortable, especially when stakes are high.

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