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Former Cranes coach Desabre shines at Afcon

Desabre lifted by Cranes players in 2018

Desabre lifted by Cranes players in 2018

Context is important when discussing and analysing the statement after the fact. When Sebastien Desabre left the Uganda Cranes job in July 2019 shortly after the Africa Cup of Nations, he was unveiled as the new coach of Egyptian topflight side Pyramids FC.  

At the time, he had also been a target of Tunisian club side Etoile Sportive Du Sahel.

“I made a bold, brave decision to leave Cranes,” Desabre would say at his inaugural press conference as Pyramids coach.

But back then, he departed the Cranes job under a cloud. The national team had exited the Africa Cup of Nations in the second round after a 0-1 defeat to Senegal but the major talking point was the sit-down strike by the players over a bonus row.

Fufa was reportedly disappointed by how Desabre handled the matter, and it left a strain on his relationship with his employers. Desabre didn’t last long at Pyramids – he was out of the job after seven months. Wydad AC hired his services in 2020 before French Ligue 2 side Chamois Niortais came calling.

In 2022, the DR Congo job came calling. The Congolese Association Football Federation appointed him on a four-year contract and tasked him to deliver the Leopards to the 2026 Fifa World Cup to be hosted in Mexico, Canada and the United States.

DRC have been an organized, compact unit at Afcon 2023, particularly in matches against Morocco and Egypt, and Desabre tonight finds himself 90 minutes away from the final.

Ironically Uganda’s last victory at Afcon was in the 2019 edition when Cranes beat DR Congo. And the man in the Ugandan dugout was, yes, Sebastien Desabre. What is certain is that the fortunes of Desabre and Cranes have taken very different paths since that separation in July, 2019.

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