Friday January 24 2014

Micho defends Cranes Chan performance

Julius Ntambi evades Said Fatah’s tackle during the Chan game between

Julius Ntambi evades Said Fatah’s tackle during the Chan game between Uganda and Morocco. MONITOR PHOTO 


KAMPALA- That the Cranes admittedly improved from their disastrous 2011 African Nations Championship (Chan) debut in Sudan cannot be denied.

In the same vein, their improvement in South Africa cannot be overstated; for they still did not progress from the group.

But having managed a win, a draw and three goals in open play in SA, they can rightly say it is heads up from the three defeats in Sudan.
Yet Uganda cannot continue to judge their progress by their own standards, but against the continent’s formidable ones.

They gave their best until succumbing to Morocco 3-1 but Micho says they are a much more improved side after Chan and Cecafa, where they crashed out in the quarters.
“After the World Cup qualifying games we prepared for Cecafa and Chan,” said Micho at a media briefing in Kampala, yesterday.

“Like I have said, we have used these two tournaments as development tournaments. Like Cecafa, Chan has helped me identify certain players I will consider for the 2015 Nations Cup qualifiers.”

Micho attested that Cranes played well against some of the best teams, Burkina Faso – the 2013 Nations Cup finalists, Zimbabwe with most of their players in the competitive South African League and Morocco, who are very good technically.
“Now I can say we have a good pool of players to work with for the 2015 campaign. We will start preparations in March. From me, I’m extremely satisfied with every member of my team,” the Serb said.

The draws of next year’s Afcon to be held in Morocco, were postponed to the end of April, with qualifiers proper kicking off in September.

Meanwhile, Micho also defended his substitution of Hassan Wasswa, replacing him with youngster Francis Olaki, when many thought Uganda could have held onto their 1-1 scoreline against Morocco to make the quarters saying the midfielder was injured.

Wasswa said: “I picked a hamstring going into half time and after I realised I could not continue in the second half, I told Guma. I thought I would cost the team if I stayed on.”