Uganda Cranes will not necessarily be in must-win situation when they take on Zambia’s Chipolopolo in an international friendly in Ndola this evening.
Yet Micho Sredojevic, the Cranes coach, will want to record some positive result as Uganda prepare for May’s two-legged preliminary Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against an opponent to be known next month.
The Cranes have only beaten the Chipolopolo in Zambia (in a Cecafa group game) once in six attempts, with the other five ending in defeats. Their last visit was a 1-0 defeat in the 2013 Nations Cup qualifiers.
Simeon Masaba - the Cranes veteran currently playing club football with URA - has his doubts Uganda will claim their second ever victory in Zambia.
“It’s really difficult to tell how the game will end or what will happen especially after the team just left without training together,” Masaba told Daily Monitor. “It’s even more difficult (to predict the outcome) since some players will not join the team because of Champions League assignments.”
Masaba, whose last appearance for the Cranes was the 8-9 penalty defeat to Zambia in the 2013 Nations Cup qualifiers, was also involved in Uganda’s last trip to Zambia when Felix Katongo’s solitary strike decided the match late 2012.
“We created better chances to the win that game,” said Masaba, “But we did not use them and Zambia had their first and scored. That was the difference. The trick is to take any chance that we get.”
But Micho insists they are not in Zambia for vengeance. “We are not here for revenge. I want to test my players ahead of the CAN 2015 qualifiers in May,” he said.
Meanwhile, Azam striker Brian Umony was by press time due to replace Geoffrey Massa as the South African-based forward ruled himself out with an injury.
Elsewhere Tony Mawejje (Norway) and Henry Kalungi (USA) have been ruled out of the match after they failed to secure travel documents in time.
The Cranes players in Zambia: Denis Onyango, Robert Odongkara, Isaac Isinde, Andy Mwesigwa, Denis Guma, Nicholas Wadada, Isaac Muleme, Richard Kasagga, Boban Zirintusa, Geoffrey Kizito, Sula Matovu, Moses Oloya, Daniel Sserunkuma, Khalid Aucho, Emma Okwi, Hamis Kiiza, Francis Olaki