Zambia/Uganda: Cranes Face Zambia in Emotional Reunion for Micho

(File photo).

Former Cranes coach Micho Sredojevic was supposed to return to Uganda in March last year for a pre-Chan mini-tournament.

The 2020 Chan finals due in Cameroon were up the following month, and Fufa had organised a build-up tournament that would see the Cranes face Micho's side Zambia.

It would have been the first meeting between the two countries since Micho, who helped Uganda end a four-decade absence from Afcon finals with the Gabon 2017 edition slot, left the Cranes.

But now in the re-organised mini-tournament in Cameroon, the the Serbian gets reunited with some of his former Cranes colleagues and players.

"It is an emotional reunion for me with Cranes," Micho told Daily Monitor. "But I need to go over it and look at my team to get good performance and results while we both prepare for Chan."

The Serb, whose first coaching job in Africa was with SC Villa at the turn of 2000, is not reading too much into the friendly clash.

"It's just a check up for Cranes and Chipolopolo," he said."Nothing else."

"I've the highest degree of respect for coach Johnny [McKinstry] and his technical team and equally for the players led by veteran Tonny Mawejje," he said.

McKinstry succeeded Frenchman Sebastien Desabre, who was Micho's immediate successor with Cranes.

"Mawejje is the perfect balance between maturity, seniority and experience and young players that have a bright future," Micho added.

Shaping players

Mawejje is one of Micho's former trusted lieutenants and marshalled his midfield in Gabon three years ago. The 34-year-old returned from a decade-long tour of Europe to join Uganda Premier League side Police in the off-season.

He had been out of the Cranes set-up since Gabon Afcon finals, but McKinstry has given him a lifeline. He captained the Cranes in the 1-1 draw with Cameroon last Friday.

McKinstry believes the Chan build-up is about putting the players in the best physical and mental shape, and not merely scorelines.

"We said coming into this that this little tournament wasn't about results," he said. "It's about taking on very good opposition like the hosts and getting us ready for the main tournament."

Uganda open their Chan finals campaign on January 18 against Rwanda.

Pre-Chan mini tourney

TODAY | 6pm

Uganda vs. Zambia

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