Soccer

Cranes players in for tough race against fitness clock

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Hassan Wasswa has been relegated to

Hassan Wasswa has been relegated to a subsitute’s role at KCC and must work harder to impress Bobby. Photo by Eddie Chicco 

By Andrew Mwanguhya

Posted  Friday, March 15  2013 at  02:00

In Summary

Cranes coach throws dice to club-less players and those without regular football to prove fitness.

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As Uganda Cranes’ foreign-based legion start arriving in the county this weekend, coach Bobby Williamson is coming to terms with handling a team that will have to work harder to make their act going.

The Scot is expected to kick off training with his side this Sunday at Namboole with concerns over some regular Cranes players lacking first team football at their clubs or out of contracts.

Uganda face Liberia in the 2014 Brazil World Cup qualifier in Monrovia on March 24 hoping to register maximum three points to stay any faint hopes of doing the unprecedented – making it on the global stage.
Acknowledging the facts on the ground, Bobby has now tasked his players to prove their fitness in under seven days since “I will select only those I feel are capable of the job”.

“Fitness is really down to the player,” the Scot told Daily Monitor ahead of the weekend training, “You’ve got to work to sharpen your fitness individually.” Bobby’s concerns come after, together with his technical team, summoned a good number of inactive players at their clubs, raising fitness worries. Godfrey ‘Baba’ Kizito’s two-year contract with Vietnam side NaviBank ended and he has not played lately, while hitherto IBV midfielder Tonny Mawejje has not played for the past four months or so.

Team shape
Midfielder Hassan Wasswa has just made just three appearances – all off the bench - for KCC while goalkeepers Dennis Onyango and Abel Dhaira can hardly get team football at Mamelodi Sundowns and Simba respectively.

Brian Umony is also struggling to shake off an injury picked on Caf Confederations Cup assignment with his Tanzanian club, Azam. “The players know what to do,” insisted Bobby, “They know the shape of the team and they know what I expect of them and what Ugandans expect of them. I believe in these guys and you should encourage them.”

Meanwhile, Uganda fell one place to 85th in the latest Fifa rankings released yesterday.

Elsewhere, the long awaited Cabinet discussion of the Education and Sports Ministry recommendations regarding the murky that is the state of football in the country will have to await for at least another week.

amwanguhya@ug.nationmedia.com