Lule hopes to maitain focus after impressive Hippos start

Friday December 8 2017

Shaban Muhammad (R) is one of the three

Shaban Muhammad (R) is one of the three strikers on the squad that travelled to Morocco. AFP PHOTO 



In a country where the senior national football team Cranes approach was likened to “street football” by former captain David Obua, there appears a lack of identity in Ugandan football.
Consequently, national Under-20 coach Mathias Lule was lauded for his attacking approach as he led the national Under-17 team Cubs to within a tie of the 2015 Africa under-17 championship.
While he has not managed to stamp the same approach to the national team where he deputises Moses Basena, he appears ready to carry on with the same approach with the Hippos.
That much was evidenced on Wednesday evening as the Hippos run out 2-0 winners over hosts and current African champions Zambia on the opening day of the Cosafa Under-20 championship in Kitwe, Zambia.
Despite the impressive win over the team regarded as heavy favourites having won 11 of the past 24 Cosafa titles, Lule is aware of the task ahead as they prepare for the second game against Swaziland this afternoon.
“We are lucky to have won the first game but it’s not over. We have corrected the mistakes from yesterday and we are still focused on the task at hand,” Lule said after taking the team through a light session yesterday.
He could make a few changes to his starting side against opponents who lost 3-2 to Malawi in the opening game with URA playmaker Shafik Kagimu starting in midfield.
He appeared to give the team greater control after replacing the stylish Frank “Zaga Tumwesigye three minutes into the second half.
The Hippos had withered some early pressure from Zambia, also reigning Cosafa champions with Tumwesigye and Julius Poloto making inroads while Muhammad Shaban lurked dangerously.
They did get the breakthrough early in the second half first with Shaban connecting with Steven Mukwala’s low, right wing cross at the near post on 51 minutes before latching onto goalkeeper Saidi Keni’s long kick.