The Observer (Kampala)

5 June 2012

Uganda/Senegal: Now to the Hard Part - Senegal

In securing a 1-1 draw, The Cranes showed character.

The Parancas Negras' early opener didn't disorient them. They kept pushing forward with Hassan Wasswa, part of a midfield three with Johnson Bagole and Patrick Ochan not allowing Angola to get into the Ugandan penalty area.

In many ways, it was a masterstroke from Cranes coach Bobby Williamson. Meanwhile, the three roving forwards, Okwi, Mike Serumaga and Martin Mutumba caused Angola some trying times. Not only did the Angolans struggle to contain their mobility, their speed and passing always opened up spaces.

However, that result will count for nothing if Williamson doesn't bring down Senegal this Saturday. The Senegalese lead Group J following their 3-1 win over Liberia.

By all counts, Senegal are the strongest team Williamson will be facing since his appointment back in August 2008.

In that spell, Cranes has won 26 games, lost 10 and drawn 16. And following their abysmal display at the Africa Cup of Nations in January, they come into this game hungry and with a lot to prove.

For the likes of Papiss Cisse, Demba Ba and Moussa Sow, the jury is out for them to prove that they can cut it on the international stage by inspiring Senegal to the World Cup since their last showing in 2002.

But as was seen of Senegal at the 2012 Nations Cup, they looked uncomfortable facing teams that ran at them. Their defence, despite having many gigantic frames, isn't as quick or solid.

Playing the ball on the carpet is Cranes' best option considering that most of the team's forwards are mid-sized. Uganda last played Senegal in 2001 when Mathias Kaweesa equalised late on for a 1-1 draw at Nakivubo.

That's why keeping the same system exhibited in Angola seems ideal. That said, Simeon Masaba must provide more width from right back if The Cranes are to prevail through speed and individual isolation.

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