Cranes goalkeeper Dennis Onyango, together with his understudies Ismail Watenga and Hamza Muwonge did not disappoint, keeping clean sheets in an 11-aside session at Namboole yesterday morning.
And that is an area Uganda have been strong at while on home turf although the Cranes’ last home engagement leaked once in the 2014 World Cup qualifying 2-1 victory over Angola last year.
Yet Micho Sredojevic’s side will need to balance the act on Saturday if they are to overturn the 2-1 defeat suffered away to Madagascar a week ago and progress to the final preliminary round of the 2015 Nations Cup qualification.
They will need to attack with fury, at the same time cut out counter attacks of the marauding Malagasy, whose wingers had a field day against Cranes fullbacks in the first leg, although Uganda put in a better shift after recess.
Onyango, who missed the first leg through a head injury although we were told it had to do with his club Bidvest Wits duty, is expected to start for the first time (in a competitive match) since Micho took over last May.
He is training in a protective head gear but is confident that will not affect him for Saturday. But Onyango is not lost on why Uganda must start early. “It’s very important that we try and get an early goal so that we don’t play under pressure,” he told Daily Monitor, “But at the same time we should be careful so that we don’t concede because if we concede than there is a problem.
“Then we’ll need to look for two to three goals. We will have to look for goals at the same time keep the shape at the back.”
Looking for goals is one thing, getting them another. In yesterday’s training, none of strikers Hamis Kiiza – scorer in the defeat to Madagascar, Emmanuel Okwi and Geoffrey Massa scored in open play. Actually, no one scored in the 11-aside.
“I think it’s not a worrying factor (not scoring in training),” argued Onyango, “Obviously we are building towards the game on Saturday and we all know at times it’s not easy to score.”
2015 AFCON QUALIFIER
Saturday, May 31
Uganda vs. Madagascar
Madagascar won first leg 2-1