The Observer (Kampala)

6 August 2013

Uganda/Senegal: Micho May Opt for Experience Against Senegal

In a surprise twist ahead of the eagerly-awaited 2014 World Cup qualification clash against Senegal on September 7, Cranes coach Milutin 'Micho' Sredojevic has summoned previously discarded players.

It could be a clear indication that Micho plans to use experienced players for the must-win tie, writes John Vianney Nsimbe.

Patrick Ochan, Joseph Kabagambe and Vincent Kayizzi, were three names in the 31-man Cranes squad summoned on Monday. They had become long forgotten. But with Micho, they have another shot at glory albeit the fact that their careers at the top have blown 'hot and cold.'

The trio has failed to live up to the promise they showed a decade ago but Micho is leaving nothing to chance, which is why he has expedited the preparations for that clash. Because of his contacts, the Serbian, together with Fufa was able to secure an International friendly match with Egypt in Cairo on August 14. This will be an opportunity for Kabagambe, Kayizzi and Ochan to show whether they still have anything to offer to The Cranes.

That will largely depend on whether they actually make the final cut of 18 players expected to make that trip. Already, one of their contemporaries, Augustine Nsumba, didn't make the 31-man squad despite being in the African Nations Championship (Chan) team that beat Tanzania 4-1 on aggregate to book a place to South Africa just two weeks ago.

That sends out a message that although Micho worked with Ochan and Kabagambe a few years ago at club level, it would be risky for them to take things for granted. In fact, Micho said last week that only current form will determine the players he summons to The Cranes squad for Senegal. But he promised to mix experience with youth for good team balance. That is probably the reason why he called back the trio.

But former KCC FC and Express coach Matia Lule doesn't think recalling the trio is beneficial. "I hope I'm proved wrong and these veterans bring something new to the table that we haven't seen before," said Lule.

Kayizzi made his Cranes debut in 2004 while Kabagambe and Ochan joined the fray in 2005. Apart from Kayizzi, who enjoyed a protracted spell as Cranes' right winger from 2006 under coach Csaba Laszlo, Kabagambe and Ochan have left no indelible mark on the national team. Ochan's Cecafa campaigns between 2006 and 2010 were largely uneventful.

That said, Kayizzi has been playing Bika bya'Baganda football lately. Meanwhile, Ochan has reportedly been deemed surplus to requirement at DR Congo side TP Mazembe, which puts to question his current form.

Micho is left on the spot to prove that Kabagambe, Kayizzi and Ochan, whose last Cranes outings were in September (2011), October (2011) and October (2012) respectively deserve another calling.

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