Mubiru preaching game management

Thursday October 17 2019

Keeper Lukwago looked sharp in yesterday

Keeper Lukwago looked sharp in yesterday training. PHOTO BY EDDIE CHICCO 

By ANDREW MWANGUHYA

At 3-0 you would reluctantly dismiss any potential Burundi comeback, especially when you consider the venue of the return leg of this 2020 Africa Nations Championship (Chan) on Saturday.

The best Burundi have ever picked from Uganda is an international friendly draw, and now they come into this fresh from a 3-0 thrashing by the Cranes in front of their own fans.

Uganda will qualify for their fifth successive Chan championships, with this year’s edition to be held in Cameroon - also the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) hosts - if they avoid an outright 4-0 defeat to Burundi. The Cranes have beaten Burundi 10 out of the 15 times the two have met, with the East African neighbours winning only on two occasions – in Cecafa.

Now, Burundi arrive in Kampala with the quest of cleaning the first leg mess on their agenda. Mission impossible?

Abdallah Mubiru, the man who will see through this match, with his boss and new Cranes coach Johnny McKinstry overseeing things from a distance, does not believe so; instead choosing to take the game as serious as they can.

“We are now mainly working on our ability to regain possession immediately we lose it to the opponents because we are aware they are very good on the ball,” Mubiru told Daily Monitor from the Cranes training base at Lugogo.

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“And right from the first day we emphasised the importance of managing this 90 minutes. As of now we are not even looking at qualification, but focusing as much as possible on managing the next 90 minutes.”

Mubiru, who also oversaw the first leg with the assistance of coach Livingstone Mbabazi, says “this is a completely new match and different environment.

“In the game of football anything can happen. We’ve seen bigger teams like Barcelona winning (with good margins) and losing the next leg, so you can’t take anything for granted.

“Burundi are a good side despite the fact that we managed to score three goals. They were playing well, very competitive and they have nothing to lose so they will come and try to attack us.”

The Cranes are expected to enter residential training in Naalya at Sky Hotel today. Should Uganda finish this Burundian job successfully, they will target to progress from the group stage for the first time on their fifth attempt.

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