2014 FIFA World Cup Qualifier
Senegal v Uganda
Milutin Sredojevic Uganda coach Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojevic has explained that striker Geoffrey Massa has been dropped for the Senegal game because of unfitness.
The Cranes face Senegal on Saturday in a crucial 2014 World Cup qualifier in the neutral ground of Marrakech, Morocco.
“I know Massa has the potential, but he has been very unfit. He has not even created a goal since he last scored against Zambia last year. He was very unfit in the friendly against Egypt last month in El Gouna,” the coach said on phone from Turkey.
The Cranes team arrived in Istanbul yesterday for a four-day camp. Micho explained that he had given Massa a chance to come and prove himself in the international friendly against Botswana last weekend, but the player did not show-up.
“I even spoke to his new coach Steve [Barker] at University of Pretoria in South Africa who told me they are still working out issues to do with the player’s resident permit, but admitted that Massa needs some time to regain fitness,” said Micho.
The coach said Massa will have a chance to play for the Cranes again when he is fit because the match against The Teranga Lions needs players who will be very fit.
The former Yenicam FC striker in Cyprus told one of the media outlets in Uganda last weekend that he was disappointed that the coach had omitted him from the squad going to face Senegal.
Micho added that St George striker Robert Ssentongo had replaced Massa in the team, while professionals Mike Azira, Martin Mutumba and William Luwagga Kizito had arrived in Turkey.
Skipper Andy Mwesigwa and Tony Mawejje, who scored a goal each in the Cranes’ wins over Liberia and Angola in the earlier matches of the qualifiers, are expected today.
Ex-skipper Ssemogerere cautions Cranes
Former Cranes captain George Ssemogerere has cautioned the team ahead of their do-or-die game against Senegal.
“The only solution for the Cranes will be to attack because Senegal is not the kind of team that you approach by staying back and defend,” said Ssemogerere, who was skipper for the national team for a record 10 years, told sources.
Ssemogerere, who is now coach of FUFA Premier League side Kiira Young FC, said the Cranes must be very careful when tackling the Senegal players because they are very skillful and know to play on the minds of referees to get penalties and free kicks.
“Our boys should play a straight game and try to look for an early goal to disorganise the Senegal team,” added Ssemogerere, who won several regional Cecafa Senior Challenge Cups as skipper.
In his last appearance against Senegal in 2001 as Cranes skipper, the Teranga Lions scored one of the goals off a penalty, while defender Abubakar Tabula was red carded as the Cranes lost 3-0 in Dakar.
Ssemogerere said playing on a neutral ground of Marrakech is also good for the Cranes because the Senegal fans will not be in the stadium to cheer the team on.
“Playing on a neutral ground is advantage for the Cranes, but the coach Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojevic must employ the best tactics that will work in that game,” added Ssemogerere.
PLAYERS IN CAMP
Goal keepers: Denis Onyango, Robert Odongkara, Hamza Muwonge
Defenders: Savio Kabugo, Richard Kassaga, Denis Iguma, Nicholas Waddada, Godfrey Walusimbi
Midfielders: Hassan Wasswa, Geoffrey ‘Baba’ Kizito, Brian Majwega, Vincent Kayizzi, Moses Oloya, Joseph Ochaya
Strikers: Hamis Kiiza, Frank Kalanda, Emmanuel Okwi