The Observer (Kampala)

21 March 2013

Uganda: Liberia Vs Uganda - It's Make or Break

It may be early days but going into this weekend's 2014 World Cup qualifier in Liberia, The Cranes need all three points to stay in touch with group leaders Senegal, writes John Vianney Nsimbe.

For the record, it's a long shot for The Cranes to dream of Brazil 2014 but anything short of a win in Monrovia, Ugandans could lose interest in the qualifiers. A loss could end up playing for pride if favourites Senegal, as expected, bag three points at home to Angola.

Going by the way The Cranes have been training this week, it's difficult to tell whether they are going for a win or draw. The complexity of this matter isn't helped by coach Bobby Williamson's tactical approach in training. Williamson admitted last weekend that his team will need a 'good result' to keep the ambitions alive.

Yet, after seeing a couple of the team's workouts, the forwards didn't look promising. In forty or so minutes playing ten aside in a typical match situation, there were only two shots on target. To some observers, there was little to read into this. But to others, it creates poignancy because what is done in training normally happens in the match.

During these sessions, there was little creativity from the midfield for forwards Emma Okwi, Mike Mutyaba and Robert Ssentongo. Even when the wingers and full-backs came flying in, their crosses were not well-weighed to get to the required target.

Furthermore, there was hardly any late running from the midfielders to support the forwards. They looked happy sitting back, a sign of a defensive philosophy, which, on the other hand, left the strikers abandoned.

That said, Williamson's decision to drop forwards Hamis Kiiza, Tony Odur and Daniel Serunkuma is shocking. This trio impressed in the friendly against Rwanda last month but Williamson has chosen Geoffrey Massa, Okwi, Mutyaba and Ssentongo.

Ordinarily, it would have been ideal to have all his troops compete in training in order to get a clear perspective. However, Massa is on form and on Wednesday, he scored and created one for his club Yenicami in a 2-1 win. So, he should be in good form to lead the line.

Furthermore, the training sessions have also shown that Williamson's defence is in good shape. That is probably the reason why the scoring chances were at the lowest ebb. Captain Andy Mwesigwa is leaner and quicker while Henry Kalungi, Godfrey Walusimbi, now playing in DR Congo and Dennis Guma, are solid and uncompromising.

In a nutshell, Williamson said that he was positive about his team's prospects. At this time, they seem to be evenly cut out on the defence delivering a point and the strikers getting all three.

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