12 February 2013

Uganda: Cranes Coach - No Lessons From Afcon

Cranes coach Bobby Williamson does not hide regret for missing out on the recently-concluded Africa Cup of Nations and is already looking forward to qualification for the 2014 World Cup, writes John Vianney Nsimbe.

"I have no doubt in my mind that we [Uganda] deserved to be in South Africa," says Williamson, after reflecting on the performance of the 16 teams at Afcon.

Naturally, one would expect Williamson to pick a few lessons on what he must do to qualify in 2015. Maybe not quite.

Williamson says: "There was nothing to learn from the Afcon that I didn't already know...well, apart from realising that The Cranes are as good as any team that was at the tournament. We just missed out because of one missed penalty and I'm sure had we qualified, we would have done really well."

Reflecting on the quality of football at the Afcon, Williamson says he was impressed by the talent most teams brought forth. "I saw plenty of it [talent] that convinced me many European clubs will be chasing for their signatures," he says.

It is perhaps a similar challenge Bobby has had to contend with convincing sceptics that there is adequate football talent in this country. The friendly against Rwanda last Wednesday went a long way in confirming his notion.

With a host of youthful players giving a good account of themselves in the 2-2 draw, Williamson says day-by-day, the size of his Cranes squad expands and that creates more options to bank on. With the World Cup qualifiers resuming in March against Liberia, Williamson has set sights on qualification for the 2014 World Cup.

That Brazil dream may seem far-fetched but Williamson is optimistic. "Qualifying for the World Cup has a long way to go. But if we top our group like I know we can, we shall just have one more opponent to face over two legs. That isn't impossible."

Indeed it isn't. Williamson says he is monitoring his players wherever they are to ensure that his team is in good shape to realise their goal. However, that goal doesn't include giving away leads like it was against Rwanda.

Williamson explains that he made several changes while in the lead to give as many players a chance to gain some international experience. "The result in this game wasn't the most important thing. It was a friendly match to try out a few things."

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