Saturday April 19 2014

Delayed draws stretch Micho’s Afcon plans

Uganda Cranes coach Micho is

Uganda Cranes coach Micho is frustrated by Caf’s delays. Photo by Eddie Chicco 


Since Caf, for the umpteenth time, postponed the 2015 Orange Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifying draws, this time to April 27, Cranes coach Micho Sredojevic has hardly been an amused man.

“We had a symposium after Chan and we thought we would just go into the group stages,” said Micho a week ago, “But then we were told of this new arrangement and that draws would be made in April.”

The qualifying draw was initially supposed to take place in Morocco on March 10 last year during the Caf General Assembly but without clear reasons, the executive committee sitting on March 8 2013, decided that it instead be held on January 31 this year during Chan in South Africa.
But come January 28, the draw date changed again to April 27.

That has left the 28 teams to play qualifying preliminaries at sea regarding their opponents, more so Micho. As a result, the Serb is left to widen his planning when it could have served him better to focus on a known opponent.

“Depending on the draw, we shall try to organize friendly matches with some countries that play the same style of football like our (eventual) qualifications opponents,” he told us.

“In other words if we get in second round in May opponents from the Southern Africa region, then we shall play neighbours (of that) country to be ready for official opponents. “For example, if we get to play Namibia officially then we shall play Botswana (in a) friendly; if we play Benin officially then we shall play Togo (in a) friendly.”

“This is the only sporting, logical way to be ready to compete and qualify because we carry dreams of over 30 million of Ugandans at home and in Diaspora.”

Micho added: “But in order not to run ahead (of our selves) let’s get the draw then we shall talk how my plan looks like practically. “My present concern is following each candidate for Cranes playing outside; talking and counseling them to be ready to play for national duty.”


Preliminary phase – First Round
• Lowest ranked teams including Mauritania vs Mauritius; and Eritrea vs South Sudan face off to produce two that will join the 26 in the second round. Meanwhile, South Sudan are through after Eritrea withdrew
Second Round
• The two teams from the first round and the other 26 in the second engage in two legs, with 14 advancing to the Third Round. First legs to be played on May 16. 17, 18 and return legs on May 30, 31 and June 1
Third Round
• The 14 qualified teams will engage in two legs with seven countries advancing to the group stage where they will meet the other seeded 21. First legs of the Third Round will be played July 18, 19, 20 and return legs on August 1, 2, 3.