2015 AFCON: 3 pm kick off for Unpredictable Madagascar vs a much changed Cranes

Sports-Micho leads Cranes team into prayers at Njeru turf on Wednesday

 

Sun 18th May 2014

Madagascar Vs Uganda

3pm (Same time as in Uganda and Madagascar)

Venue: Stade Rabemananjara – Mahajanga (Artificial turf)

Match officials: Ref: Victor Gomes Miguel (RSA)

Ass Ref 1: Stevens Khumalo Mothibidi (RSA)

Ass Ref 2:  Sandile Dili Kane (RSA)

Fourth Official: Victor Lungwani Tinyiko

Match commissioner: Gladmore Muzambi (Zimbabwe)

 

By Joseph Mutaka

Uganda Cranes Media Officer (CHAN)

The National senior team-Uganda Cranes will face an unpredictable test from the COSAFA playing nation-Madagascar when they kick start their 2015 AFCON qualification campaign tomorrow. Having left their residential base at Sky Hotel in Nalya in the wee hours of Friday Morning, the Cranes finally arrived at their final destination in Majunga where the game will be played at the Stade Rabemananjara.  Uganda Cranes coach Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredejovich is convinced that his team can bring down the islanders.

But it must be noted that Uganda has not beaten a COSAFA playing nation in the last three outings whose nick name is The Barea.

In CHAN (tournament for players paying in the domestic leagues of their countries) Cranes drew with Zimbabwe. Their last two encounters with Zambia have ended in Chipolopolo’s favor (Zambia won on penalties at Namboole after a goalless draw) and a 2-1 win in a friendly early this year.

Cranes’ dream is to appear at the Nations cup finals for the first time since 1978 at the continent’s premier football tournament.

Micho’s side has had an excellent run in the recent past since the Serb took over from his compatriot Bobby Williamson who was relieved of his duties after failing to guide the Cranes to South Africa in 2013.

Micho has won 10 out of seventeen matches played so far under his stewardship drawing two and losing five in all competitions.

In his final training session at Namboole on Thursday evening, the Serb almost handled everything on the pitch before revealing the 18 man squad that traveled to Madagascar. Micho whose emphasis was on the technical and tactical acumen, said that his players were ready for the fixture.

‘We handled the session of drills very well and I feel we’re comfortable’ said Micho shortly after the final training session at Namboole stadium

‘We must be tactically prepared, mentally mature and technically fit if we are to beat Madagascar at their home soil’ emphasized Micho.

Cranes will have to do the job minus some of the key players Denis Onyango, Ondongkara Robert, midfield maestros Tony Maweje and Oloya Moses plus striker Geoffrey Massa. Injuries took their toll on the stars.

The Serb has repeatedly said that Uganda is endowed with abundant sports talent.

‘We need all people to be together if we are to fulfill our dream of qualifying for 2015 AFCON in Morocco’ said Micho after he named his 35 man squad three weeks at FUFA house in Mengo

It is not clear who will be the happier of two at the end of the match tomorrow. Will it be Auguste Raux or Micho?

The Cranes have a huge advantage over Madagascar. The latest FIFA ranking put Uganda at 86th while Madagascar 189th.

Man to watch (Uganda) – Emanuel Okwi, he has established himself into a reliable asset in Micho’s time as coach of Cranes so far. His versatility and dribbling skills doing it at a higher tempo on the field of play has seen various defenders sweat to stop him. He plies his trade in Tanzania with Young Africans.

Available Squad for selection:

Goal Keepers: Hamza Muwonge (Thika United – Kenya) and Ismail Watenga (Vipers SC – Uganda)

Defenders: Denis Iguma (SCVU), Joseph Ochaya (Asante Kotoko – Ghana), Savio Kabugo (SCVU), Henry Kalungi (Richmond Kickers – US), Andrew Mwesigwa (Ordabasy FC – Kazakhstan) and Isaac Isinde (St. George – Ethiopia)

Midfielders: Luwagga Kizito (Sporting Covilha – Portugal), Martin Mutumba (Turkey), Khalid Aucho (Tusker FC – Kenya), Geofrey ‘Baba’ Kizito (Gor Mahia – Kenya), Hassan Wasswa and Brian Majwega (KCC FC)

Strikers: Hamis Kiiza (Yanga SC – TZ), Daniel Sserunkuma (Gor Mahia FC – Kenya), Francis Olaki (Soana FC) and Emmanuel Okwi (Yanga SC – TZ)

Photo: Prayer moment-In bad or Good Times-God is always part of sports. The Cranes players seen in a short prayer t Njeru technical centre.