Soccer

Cranes banking on experience

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Skipper Andy Mwesigwa is one of the players coach Bobby is counting on to pull off a rare away victory in West Africa.

Skipper Andy Mwesigwa is one of the players coach Bobby is counting on to pull off a rare away victory in West Africa. PHOTO BY Eddie Chicco. 

By Andrew Mwanguhya

Posted  Monday, March 18  2013 at  02:00

In Summary

Coach Bobby admits Senegal are favourites in the group, but is hopeful the know-how of players like Mwesigwa, Massa and Wasswa will give them the needed shift in Liberia.

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KAMPALA

Uganda Cranes have representable experience and quality to fashion a decent result in Monrovia this weekend, coach Bobby Williamson insists.

The Cranes face a formidable Liberia in a 2014 World Cup qualifier this Sunday in West Africa, a region Uganda have only won once in history – a 1-0 victory over Guinea Bissau in 2011.

Bobby, who kicks off training at Namboole with his squad this morning, dismissed suggestions that Uganda’s away Achilles heel stands in their way, saying during his time they have won on the road and that the experience of some of his senior players could play a big part in Monrovia. “We’ve got a lot of experience in the squad,” he said, “You have Dennis Onyango – great goalkeeper, Andy Mwesigwa great leader, Geoffrey Massa upfront, you have Hassan Wasswa, who has impressed me in the midfield.

“And (in Liberia) you want midfielders up for the job on the day, midfielders who can play easy balls to centre backs, easy balls to strikers. “Hassan is doing that, Baba (Geoffrey Kizito) is doing that, Musa Mudde is been doing that, these guys have all been doing that for some years now.”

The Scot, though, will miss experienced Tonny Mawejje, who withdrew for fitness reasons, and URA right back Simeon Masaba. Masaba’s pain is Victoria University Dennis Guma’s gain. “I have decided to leave Simeon Massa out as well,” explained Bobby, while appearing on the KFM Sports show on Saturday, “He’s not been playing recently. Guma has been playing well for his club.

“He’s (Guma) got good stamina, good enthusiasm, he deserves his chance now.” On away odds against Cranes, the Scot said: “We’ve beaten Guinea Bissau away, we’ve beaten Morocco, we’ve drawn with Cameroon, all these teams are higher than us in the Fifa rankings. Yes we’ve got to be warned but this team is capable.” But even him knows World Cup chances are mathematical, to say the least. “To be honest Senegal are a top, top side with some world class players and it will be hard (for Uganda) to top the group.

“You have to say they are favourites in the group but we have to try and qualify. Even if we didn’t qualify for the World Cup, it’s not the end of Ugandan football.
“The future of Ugandan football looks great with a lot of talented young players coming through, and we have the 2015 Africa Cup to look forward too.”

Uganda lie second in Group J with two points behind Senegal who are on four and above Angola and Liberia who have both collected two and one point respectively.

amwanguhya@ug.nationmedia.com