Cranes coach Micho Sredojevic hopes World marathon champion Stephen Kiprotich’s Moscow win will inspire regrouping Uganda to 2014 World Cup qualification.
But to dream of a World Cup place, the Cranes must first beat Senegal in a crucial qualifier slated for September 7 in the Moroccan City of Marrakesh to advance to the final play-off stage.
“I am hoping the victories of Kiprotich in the 2012 London Olympics marathon and now the World Championships will inspire us to push hard and win the game against Senegal before we head to the next round and qualify for the World Cup,” Micho told reporters.
The Serbian-born coach said Kiprotich’s victories show that there is nothing impossible in sport especially if you work hard.
Kiprotich last year won Uganda’s first Olympic gold medal in 40 years after the late John Aki Bua’s last victory at the 1972 Olympics in Munich, Germany.
But Micho admits that facing The Teranga Lions of Senegal will be a tall order because they are a group of talented and well exposed players.
“But in football anything is possible and we are looking forward to going to Morocco to beat them,” said Micho.
And Micho said he hopes the international friendly against Botswana on August 31 and the four days camp in Istanbul, Turkey will put the team in very good shape to go get a win against Senegal.
“Like I have always said we don’t fear Senegal at all,” added Micho. In their last meeting in Kampala in 2012, Uganda scored a late goal to grab a 1-all draw against the West Africans.
And Micho said the absence of Senegal’s leading scorer in the qualifiers Papiss Cisse is another motivator for the Cranes.
“Playing Senegal without Cisse means their fire power up-front is reduced,” said Micho.
The team is expected to leave Istanbul on September 5th and to connect to Marrakech ahead of the match.
“We shall have only 15 players’ travel to Istanbul where eight professional players will join us,” explained the coach who added that they are going for war and all soldiers must be at their best.
But prior to the Instanbul trip, Uganda face Botswana in an International friendly in Gaborone on August 31.
In their last meeting in August last year, Uganda and Botswana settled for a barren draw in an international friendly played in Gaborone.
Cranes start training on Monday with a double session at Mandela National Stadium.
Goal keepers: Robert Odongkara (St. George, Ethiopia), Denis Onyango (Bidvest Wits, South Africa), Abel Dhaira (Simba SC,Tanzania) and Hamza Muwonge (Vipers FC).
Defenders: Andrew Mwesigwa (FC Ordabassy, Kazakhstan), Nicholas Wadada (Vipers SC), Denis Iguma (SC Victoria University), Godfrey Walusimbi (CS Don Bosco, DRC), Isaac Isinde (St. George, Ethiopia), Savio Kabugo (SC Victoria University) , Hassan Wasswa Mawanda (KCC FC) Joseph Ochaya (Asante Kotoko), Henry Kalungi (Richmond Kickers, US) and Richard Kasagga (Kiira Young FC)
Midfielders: Mike Azira (Charleston Battery, US), Hassan Wasswa (KCCA FC),Joseph Mpande (Vipers SC) ,Tonny Mawejje (IBV, Iceland), Brian Majwega (KCCA FC), Goefrey ‘Baba’ Kizito Oloya (Both Vientam), Martin Mutumba Kayongo(AIK, Sweden), Saidi Kyeyune (URA), Kayizzi Vincent (Motor Lublin, Poland), Joseph Kabagambe (El Merrick) and William Kizito Luwagga (Portugal).
Strikers: Emmanuel Okwi (Etoile Du Sahel, Tunisia), Geoffrey Massa (University of Pretoria), Hamis ‘DIEGO’ Kizza (Young Africans), Dan Sseerunkuma (Gor Mahia, Kenya) and Frank Kalanda (URA FC)