Thursday May 29 2014

Cranes in urgent need of sharp goal scorers

Sserunkuma made his Uganda Cranes debut last year and has

Sserunkuma made his Uganda Cranes debut last year and has scored thrice in six appearances. He has, however, not started a game in the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers. Photo by Eddie Chicco 

By Andrew Mwanguhya

Kampala- Micho Sredojevic had reacted metaphorically early in the week when we put it to him on Sunday that his players had actually left the 11-aside session without scoring.

This with the Uganda Cranes heading into Saturday’s 2015 Nations Cup pre-qualifier needing a 1-0 victory to out-rightly progress to the final round of qualification to Morocco. It also came a week after he had told the media that they would have no excuse if they didn’t attack Madagascar at Namboole.

“In our last training session before the match (2-1 defeat) against Madagascar we scored 17 unbelievable goals in open play, but during the match we needed a late penalty to score the goal,” Micho argued. “So you could not say if goals don’t come today in training they will not come on Saturday, because in yesterday’s training and in previous training sessions we have scored very many goals.”
Yet Micho, who will task his team to attack and at the same time retain the shape to cut out the expected counter attacks, knows it is only goals on Saturday that will matter.

He has five strikers in camp including returning Geoffrey Massa, Emmanuel Okwi, scorer in Madagascar Hamis Kiiza, Daniel Sserunkuma and Yunus Sentamu. But just how potent have the aforementioned been in front of goal for Uganda, who statistically should be the chief hunter?

Yunus Sentamu enjoys the highest scoring statistics at 75 per cent but faces experience ahead of him. The AS Vita striker, whose all three goals in four appearances came at Chan in South Africa, remains an understudy.

Of the likely starters, Okwi leads the charts with 18 goals in 34 appearances, representing 53 per cent scoring rate.

Kiiza has netted 13 times in 23 caps (56.5 per cent) while Sserunkuma has scored thrice in six games since making his debut against Rwanda early last year, accounting for 50 per cent scoring rate.

Massa ranks lowest having scored 14 goals in 32 appearances, representing 44 per cent. But while the rest better his percentage, Massa’s seven of his 14 have come in Afcon qualifiers (he’s played more games there).

Okwi’s two of 18 have come in WC qualifiers and one in Afcon. Kiiza’s only Afcon qualifying goal came against Madagascar, while Sserunkuma is yet to score in international qualifiers after only coming on as a sub against Liberia and Madagascar.

Conversion rates
Hamis Kiiza: 23 apps, 13 goals, 11 as a sub (1 in Afcon qlfrs, 3 in Chan qlfrs, 3 in All Africa Games qlfrs, 5 in Cecafa, 1 friendly). 56.5 per cent scoring rate.
Geoffrey Massa: 32 apps, 14 goals, 5 as sub (7 in Afcon qlfrs, 6 In Cecafa, 1 in Egypt LG Cup). Massa has a 44 per cent scoring rate.

Emmanuel Okwi: 34 apps, 18 goals, 10 as a sub (2 in WC qlfrs, 1 in Afcon, 13 in 22 Cecafa games, 2 in friendlies). Okwi has a 53 per cent scoring rate.
Daniel Sserunkuma: 6 apps, 3 goals, 2 as a sub (I in friendly, 2 in Cecafa). Sserunkuma boasts a 50 per cent scoring rate.

Yunus Sentamu: 4 apps, 3 goals (All in Chan), representing a 75 per cent scoring rate
Standout scorers in last eight years
Geoffrey Sserunkuma: 22 caps, 16 goals, 14 as a sub. (6 in Cecafa & the rest in qlfrs & friendlies). He has a 72 per cent scoring rate.
David Obua: Just over 30 apps, 15 goals (3 in Cecafa, rest mostly qlfrs). Just over 50 per cent scoring rate.