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Cranes take on Slovenia

After Wednesday's 0-2 loss to Tunisia, The Cranes continue with their build-up to the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) with more friendly matches against Slovenia, Slovakia and Ivory Coast in Dubai, JOHN VIANNEY NSIMBE reports.

Cranes midfielder Muzamir Mutyaba, goalkeeper Benjamin Ochan and striker Edirisa Lubega suffered the heartbreak of being the last three to be dropped from Uganda Cranes squad heading to Gabon for Afcon.

Not that coach Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojevic found it any easier being the hatchet-man. But he had to trim his team to the mandated 23-man squad immediately after the Tunisia friendly, which in itself made for some intriguing reading before Cranes embarks on their latest task, beginning January 17 against Ghana.

For many who watched Cranes game against Tunisia, there was a feeling if it was the main audition; like was the case for Mutyaba and Lubega, skipper Geoffrey Massa could have missed the cut, too. His first touch looked bad, and his general play was uninspiring.

KEY MAN: Tony Mawejje (with the ball) will be pivotal for Cranes midfield in Gabon

The game against Slovenia today thus comes in handy for him to improve, considering how integral Massa is to the team’s scheme, which is the counter-attacking approach. Considering that ball possession and an offensive game is not Cranes’ forte, Micho has normally used a style, where the ball is launched long to Massa.

And it is Massa’s hold up play, that has allowed his teammates to join in the final third to try and conjure a scoring opportunity. But Micho has favoured workaholic as opposed to crafty and flair players that can give him defensive solidity.

This must have informed Micho’s decision to drop Mutyaba; Saddam Juma, Vitalis Tabu and Yasser Mugerwa before him. These are the kind of players that would normally thrive in teams that dictate play like their clubs domestically do against lesser opposition.

Cranes enjoyed some short spells of possession against Tunisia, but Micho  was impressed about the character shown by his team.  



0 #1 The Ugandan... 2017-01-06 09:45
The problem with national teams is that coaches have little time to work with the players from far flung places to create a cohesive team.

This is what even M7 was wondering the last time he met the Cranes. It is a team sport.

At some point, FUFA and the coaches will have to bite the bullet and go with more locally based players who work with the Cranes regularly. Hopefully, this will discourage more nomads from leaving early.

The onus is now on Massa to prove his worth to the team.
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