The Observer (Kampala)

20 June 2013

Uganda: No Rest Between Now and Senegal

In the wake of Uganda's back-to-back wins over Liberia and Angola in the 2014 World Cup qualifiers, Cranes coach Milutin 'Micho' Sredojevic has taken a one-week break in Rwanda to recharge his batteries.

Ahead of the must-win clash against Senegal in September, he shares his plans with John Vianney Nsimbe between now and the September 8 D-day.

While Micho's Rwanda sojourn is aimed at relaxing, far from it is the fact that he has his feet up in the land of hills. He is actually running his legs rugged to see to it that Cranes can overcome the Senegal hurdle in September.

"I am planning night and day and I don't intend to leave any stone unturned. We need to prepare very well so that we can achieve our goal," Micho said from his base in Rwanda.

Although the Serbian tactician is not ready to divulge the details, he says good prior organisation always produces results. And it is part of that thorough work that Micho has managed to guide Cranes to two priceless World Cup qualifying victories over Liberia and Angola this month.

However, before Micho left for Rwanda, more than anything, he acknowledged the need to transform the team for the long haul in which his major target is qualification for the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations in Libya. The biggest chunk of players he has today are 'freshers' with minimal experience at international level. In essence, his current team is a stark contrast from that of his predecessors Csaba Laszlo and Bobby Williamson inherited.

From the likes of Timothy Batabaire, Noah Kasule 'Babadi', Asani Bajope, Richard Malinga, Geoffrey Serunkuma, Dan Wagaluka, Johnson Bagoole, Vincent Kayizzi, Eugene Sseppuya, Ibrahim Sekagya, David Obua, Abu-baker Tabula and Nestroy Kizito, the tide has changed.

It is, now the time for Emma Okwi, Brian Umony and Dennis Guma among others. The new generation will need a lot of guidance to get Uganda over the finish line.

First and foremost, Micho realises the need to get these players as many international friendlies as possible to elevate their experience. And he will stop at nothing before an international friendly is arranged ahead of the Senegal must-win encounter.

Fred Katende, The Cranes' media officer, told The Observer that Fufa is trying to secure a friendly for Cranes in West Africa. Some of the options include Ghana, Mali or Nigeria. Although Cameroon is in Central Africa, it is also on the radar because of its physical style that is similar to that of West African states.

In addition, Micho wants to have regular training sessions with his players between now and September so that they catch up with the tactics, something they couldn't in just three weeks. The fact that he is going to be handling the local players preparing for the Africa Nations Championship (Chan) qualifiers is ideal.

But having the 2013/2014 Super League season and running soon would be to his advantage. Micho wants to help his players to get into better leagues like in South Africa or the Maghreb region.

Lately, it has been reported that Moses Oloya and Geoffrey Kizito have no clubs. So, trust Micho to be calling off the hook in order to get his players at more professional clubs.

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