8 June 2012

Uganda/Senegal: Cranes Very Capable of Upsetting Senegal - Sekagya

Photo: New Vision
Uganda's Cranes.

Ibrahim Sekagya is well qualified to advise or pass judgment about just anything on competitive football.

After all, the former Cranes captain has competed at the very highest level in Africa, Europe and succeeded including becoming the first African ever to lead a European club to a league and cup double in a season as captain.

So it was worth listening when he argued that Cranes are well capable of upstaging African giants Senegal in tomorrow's crunch World Cup fixture at Namboole Stadium.

The Lions of Teranga set foot in the country yesterday night with a galaxy of European-based stars led by Wigan midfielder Mohamed Diame and Newcastle forward Pappis Demba Cisse.

Before his international retirement, Sekagya faced African stars such as Nwankwo Kanu, Yakubu Aygebni, Obafemi Martins (Nigeria) and Asamoah Gyan (Ghana) and passed all tests with excellence.

Although he concedes that the task at hand for the 11 cards coach Bobby Williamson will roll out will prove exceedingly phenomenal, such is the striking aspect of football that according to Sekagya no team is indomitable.

"In football, there is nothing impossible. Cranes simply have to believe. They just have to give everything and know how to react under pressure," Sekagya stated.

"When you look through the team, you see a bunch of players with determination and ability.

"I have been visiting them all week just to talk to them. I still feel part of them and for the years I played for the team, I know how it feels preparing for such a big game," he added.

On the evidence of the team's workout at Namboole yesterday, Cranes strategy will be to compress the game, keep the tempo as high as possible, in the belief that it will expose Senegal's frailties at the back.

But to earn a momentous win, Cranes will also have to play out of their skins. And they can -if only they can stop the visitors scoring.

"It's going to be a tough game but we can get a result. We just need the fans to get behind the team," Williamson stated. "We will of course also need an element of luck. I will not mind if we scored off a deflection," he stated.

As far as motivation is concerned, the Cranes will not be short in that particular area after sharing out sh30m.

FUFA president Lawrence Mulindwa presented the team with the offer as a reward for their remarkable 1-1 draw against Angola in Luanda last Sunday. "It's a token of appreciation from the bottom of my heart," Mulindwa pointed.

The Cranes team that travelled received sh18m, the group that remained in camp sh2m while the officials pocketed sh10m.

How will Cranes line up?

With the talk done and tokens of appreciation finalized, the focus has now been shifted to how the Cranes will line-up against the Teranga Lions.

Of course, Williamson will retain Denis Onyango in goal with Simeon Masaba, Godfrey Walusimbi, Andrew Mwesigwa and Henry Kalungi occupying the back-four slots.

Judging by his outstanding display against Angola, Hassan Wasswa will be considered for the holding role behind either Tony Mawejje or Patrick Ochan while Martin Mutumba and Dan Wagaluka will take up the wide positions.

Williamson's biggest puzzle now is whether to retain the attacking combination of Emmanuel Okwi and Mike Sserumaga that served him in Luanda or consider pairing Geoffrey Massa and Emma Okwi at the expense of either Sserumaga or Mutumba.

"I have Massa in plans," he stated.

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