Monday July 28 2014

Cranes trip to Mauritania gets midfield boost

By Andrew Mwanguhya

Kampala- Uganda coach Micho Sredojevic was forced to start rookie Miya Farouq as the onus was on the Cranes to attack Mauritania a week ago.

Not that the attack-minded Vipers youngster was disastrous on the day. For his positioning and a few passes, decent could pass for his senior competitive debut.

The other option to start alongside Geoffrey ‘Baba’ Kizito and Moses Oloya in the middle was Ivan Ntenge.

Yet, while the KCC midfielder has turned out decently for his club, his limited industry going forward was not what the Cranes needed – especially for a home team that nursed a serious desire to make the group stage of the 2015 Nations Cup qualification.

Micho will not have such limited options in the centre of the park when Uganda take their 2-0 lead into the return leg in Nouakchott this Sunday, with two of his experienced midfielders back.

Tusker’s (Kenya) Khalid Aucho, who partnered Baba Kizito in the second round 1-0 victory over Madagascar, returns from suspension having missed the first leg against Mauritania, while Tonny Mawejje makes a comeback having missed the said tie as well.

Mawejje finally penned a six-month loan move to Iceland’s Valur from his Norwegian side Haugesund, where he has found regular football hard to comeby since his switch there from IBV Vestmannaeyjar. He has so far played two games for Valur.

The Cranes can progress to the group stage with a 1-0 loss but they will not go into it with such a mentality.

“We want to go to Mauritania not to defend but to play football,” Micho tells us, “And if we want to play, midfielders are main people to make us play.

“That’s why the return of Aucho from suspension and Mawejje settling in Iceland after problems in Norway are very important to us.”

Meanwhile, it is not all good news for Cranes as striker Emmanuel Okwi has been released from the camp following a troublesome groin injury.

Robert Ssentogo has since been invited to join Hamis Kiiza and Brian Umony in camp as they await Geoffrey Massa (South Africa) to arrive. Yunus Sentamu (DRC) returned to AS Vita and the club are reportedly not willing to release him.