The Observer (Kampala)

Uganda/Senegal: Bring On Senegal

Photo: New Vision
Uganda's Cranes.

A win over Senegal this Saturday will give The Cranes a stranglehold on Group 10 of the 2014 World Cup qualifiers.

That's why the presence of Fufa president Lawrence Mulindwa at training yesterday was morale boosting, writes John Vianney Nsimbe.

Mulindwa rewarded each of the 18 players that travelled to Angola in the 1-1 draw last Sunday with Shs 1 million. That said, The Cranes will need a sterner display against Senegal and coach Bobby Williamson is expected to make a few changes.

Brian Umony and Robert Ssentongo look vibrant as opposed to Fabian Kizito, who looked a step slower and fittingly was dropped alongside Isaac Isinde, Joseph Ochaya, Yasin Mugabi, Ali Kimera and Caesar Okhuti. The levels of fitness showcased by most of the home-based players have been remarkable. As such, even Sweden-based Martin Mutumba, who didn't enjoy the best of debuts against Angola, admits the African game was physical, fast and work-oriented.

It's different from the tactical and thinking game that he's used to. He too isn't guaranteed a place against Senegal despite his flashy and flamboyant attributes in training.

Williamson has invited Steven Bengo and that sends out a statement but the Scot doesn't give much away: "I know my first eleven for the Senegal game but I will continue to observe the players."

As things stand, there are lots of attacking options to come up with against Senegal. However, Cranes has been markedly known to be strong in defence particularly in home games. But the combination of Henry Kalungi and Andy Mwesigwa needs to improve in its movement, as a lack of proper coordination led to a few lapses against Angola.

Inevitably, the system Williamson chooses to play against Senegal will be crucial. Because dominating possession is important and retaining Hassan Wasswa and Tonny Mawejje is a likely possibility. Alternatively, sticking to the 4-3-3 system he used in Angola may be an obvious choice because it gives Uganda more steel in midfield.

But it means he can only field one out-and-out striker, yet the pace of Geoffrey Massa, who's returning from injury, is necessary. Massa works best in a 4-4-2 but so does Mike Serumaga, who despite being left-footed can't play as a left winger but off the main striker. Accommodating the two means Mutumba gives way.

Either way, Williamson may not be ready to risk having his two main midfield anchormen overworked and his defence exposed. It's a complex game.

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