Botswana v Uganda 3.00pm Local time
The national team, Uganda Cranes arrived in Gaborone, Botswana ahead of their Saturday international friendly with the South African nation at National stadium of Botswana in preparation for the FIFA World Cup qualifier against Senegal.
The delegation led by FUFA VP Technical Livingstone Kyambadde touched down in Gaborane at midnight an hour less the Uganda time aboard a 4.30 hours flight Kenya Airline flight with 6 hours in transit in Nairobi.
Botswana FA official and group of 30 Ugandans leaving in Botswana welcomed Micho Sredojevic’s team that will face Botswana for the third time, the other two ending in draws.
The team is accommodated at the luxurious Lansmore Hotel located at the centre of Gaborone and Micho took the team through midnight drills at the hotel compound to remove Jet lag at hotel compound before they checked in.
While briefing the team at arrival Micho urged the players to forget what had happened in the Kampala just before the team travelled and focus on Saturday’s game as performance will determine who makes the final camp in Turkey on Sunday.
According to Micho team will feel the match venue today at 3.00pm in the only training session here before the game.
The Botswana team has seven South African based pros, two Don Bosco forwards and a Zambia based player for the first match in their national stadium closed for renovation since 2006.
Botswana has to beat neighbours South Africa on September 7th and pray foes CAR beat Ethiopia to stand a chance of qualify for last round of FIFA World Cup finals in Brazil.
But all was not well for the national team before they left the country on Thursday, the players were very disappointed as they travelled to Botswana without the promised allowances from government.
It took a lot of convincing by the FA officials and head coach Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojevic for the players to travel as they had earlier threatened to stay behind if they were not paid.
“We have managed to convince the team to travel for the international friendly against Botswana as we await response from the government,” said Mujib Kasule, a member of the technical committee and the FA’s Vice President in-charge of the league.
The President of Uganda Yoweri Kaguta Museveni two days ago presented a dummy cheque indicating that the team would receive about $130,000 to prepare for the crucial 2014 World Cup qualifier against Senegal.
“There was a small delay but after talks with government, we got money from somewhere and that person will be paid back,” said Fred Katende the Cranes Media Officer told RED Pepper Online from Gaborone.
Micho also did admit the hitch could affect the team psychologically but remained confident. “Looking at the players and how we are putting everything (into the preps), I feel sorry for them,” he said.
FA officials have been regular visitors at the Ministry of Education and Sports trying to get the money, but to no avail.
Charles Bakkabulindi, the State Minister for Sports, later told our source that he was going for a meeting with the Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi to discuss matters pertaining to the government support to the team and other matters concerning football.
The team is expected to travel to Istanbul, Turkey, on Sunday for four days of camp before heading to Morocco on September 5th.
Squad in Botswana:
Goalkeepers: Robert Odongkara (St George Ethiopia), Denis Onyango (Bidvest Wits SA,) and Hamza Muwonge (Vipers Uganda)
Defenders: Denis IGuma (SCVU Uganda ), Godfrey Walusimbi (Don Bosco DR Congo), Joseph Ochaya (Kotoko Ghana ), Nicolas Wadada [VipersUganda ] Savio Kabugo (SCVU Uganda ) and Richard Kasagga (Kiira young Uganda)
Midfielders: Hassan Wasswa (KCC Uganda ), Geofrey Kizito (Saigon Vietnam ), Joseph Mpande (Vipers Uganda ), S. Kyeyune (URA Uganda ), Moses Oloya (Saigon Vietnam), Brian Majwega (KCC Uganda ), Joseph Kabagambe (El Merrickh al Fasher Sudan ), Vicent Kayizzi (Motor Lublin Poland)
Strikers: Frank Kalanda (URA), Emma Okwi (Etoile de Sahel Tunisia) and Hamis Kiiza (Young Africans Tanzania]