KAMPALA- On Wednesday night, Sebastien Desabre took charge of his final game at Egyptian side Ismaily, a 5-1 victory over El Raja that sent them seven points clear at the summit.
He then took a 127.9km journey from Ismailia to Cairo to catch his flight to Uganda, setting off at midnight. The Frenchman would then touchdown at Entebbe Airport on Thursday at 1pm.
Fufa had arranged to unveil him as Uganda Cranes coach at 2pm, only for him arrive at the federation offices in Mengo, a Kampala suburb a few minutes before 3pm.
Accompanied by the Fufa chief executive officer Edgar Watson, Desabre was ushered into the two-storeyed building as quickly as he arrived.
As he walked into the offices, his Cranes assistants, Matia Lule and Fred Kajoba, and the bus driver, were preparing to go to Namboole where the national team was due to train later in the day.
The team is preparing for the biennial Africa Nations Championship (Chan) starting January 13 in Morocco. Uganda’s first game of the championship is on January 14 against Zambia.
Left-back Isaac Muleme was also at the federation offices, processing documents that Daily Monitor could not ascertain whose contents.
Sebastien, 41, in a neat fitting grey suit with matching dark blue shirt, sat down to speak to a packed press room as the bus departed for Namboole. Speaking in deep French accent, he spoke about the honour of getting this job and his hope in improving the team in the short term even if the Chan comes too quickly for him.
However, he dissuaded from discussing his salary, as did Watson, the cornerstone of the departure of Uganda’s previous coach, Serbian Milutin Micho, back in July. Soon after the address was done and Watson handed Sebastien a jersey, he was driven to Namboole on the opposite end of town where he watched the side train.
Moses Basena, who had been in the job on an interim basis for five months until Wednesday, wasn’t there and the initiation the Frenchman was to receive came from Lule and Kajoba.
After training, Sebastien joined in the circle and spoke to the players. There was little to pick from it in terms of his vision but he was able to tell the players that he was “too tired to train today,” a message everyone got.
On Friday, he took charge of his first full session at the Maroons’ ground in Luzira, a ground he described as “a little too bumpy.”
Having arrived in Africa in 2010 and coached clubs in Angola, Ivory Coast, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco and Algeria, this is the first national team job Sebastien has undertaken.
Few will judge him on how Uganda performs at Chan as many will know he will only be learning about these players.
After that, Sebastien’s first real game comes in September when the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers resume at home to Tanzania.
If he lasts the entire duration of his three-year contract, it will also be the longest period he has been in a job, mirroring the long Wednesday-Thursday he had.
2018 AFRICA NATIONS CHAMPIONSHIP
JAN 14. Zambia vs. Uganda
JAN 18 Uganda vs. Namibia
JAN 22 Uganda vs. Cote d’Ivoire
2019 AFRICA CUP OF NATIONS
SEPT 7. Uganda vs Tanzania
OCT 10. Uganda vs Lesotho
OCT. 13 Lesotho vs Uganda
NOV 16. Uganda vs Cape Verde
MAR 22, 2019 TZ v s Uganda