Sunday March 24 2013

World Cup: Cranes resume 2014 dream against Liberia

Victoria University’s Guma

Victoria University’s Guma (left) is set to start at right full back position in what many feel could be the beginning of the end of Simeon Masaba’s decade-long career as the national team’s number two. Photo by Ismail Kezaala 

By Andrew Mwanguhya

It was just appropriate that Uganda Cranes players be lodged into Golden Gate Hotel in Monrovia, just outside venue for today’s epic clash after 16 and a half hours of travel.

The distance from SK Doe Sports Complex to the team’s hotel is equivalent to that between Sports View Hotel, Kireka and Namboole, according to Cranes media officer Fred Katende in Monrovia, and that will have saved Bobby Williamson’s side any impediments driving to the stadium tonight.

The Cranes will do with any psychological boost before the match for this 2014 World Cup encounter against the hosts is a difficult enough task already, which they must confront with the hunger and anger from falling short in previous campaigns.

“We know it’s gonna be difficult,” Bobby told Sunday Monitor, “And we don’t wonna underestimate them (Liberia). “I just hope our fans don’t think it’s gonna be easy. It’s not. But we’ll give our best.” And give their best in every department.

Dennis Onyango must report for duty in goal while skipper Andy Mwesigwa and partner Henry Kalungi must keep Mamelodi Sundown striker Anthony Laffor in check for any lapse in concentration will be preyed on by the Liberian danger man.

Left back Godfrey Walusimbi and right back Dennis Guma, making his first game of this nature for Uganda, will also need their A game on the day. Geoffrey ‘Baba’ Kizito and Moses Oloya are odds on to start in the midfield but it will be interesting to see which pair between Musa Mudde, Boban Zirintusa, Hassan Wasswa and Saidi Kyeyune Bobby will employ alongside Kizito.

Burying memories
Robert Ssentongo and Emmanuel Okwi will wait to find out who will partner Geoffrey Massa if Bobby decides on a 4-4-2, which could switch into 4-5-1 depending on how the game is progressing. Memories of the Cranes last visit to Monrovia in the 2000 Afcon qualifiers returned a 2-0 defeat and Bobby and team will do anything to avoid the same.

“A draw won’t be the end of the world depending on what happens in the other game (between Senegal and Angola),” said the Scot, “But if we don’t perform then we’ve got a real problem.”

That Liberia, who have been camping in Monaco, France, drew their first home game goalless with Angola makes Cranes work even more difficult.

Liberia coach Frank Jericho Nagbe will count on forward Tonia Tisdell to unlock the Cranes.