Micho backs Cranes to survive “group of death”

Tuesday April 16 2019

Old good days:  Micho gives Cranes players

Old good days: Micho gives Cranes players Murushid Juuko and Faruku Miya instructions while still boss. Photo by Eddie Chicco 

By Andrew Mwanguhya

Kampala. Micho Sredojevic is a man you can never wash or wish off Ugandan football.
From when he first arrived at SC Villa at the turn of last decade, to ending Uganda’s 40-year absence from the Nations Cup finals as Cranes coach - the Serbian will always be a reference.

The Orlando Pirates coach, currently in Uganda on a short visit, is battling Cranes captain Denis Onyango’s Mamelodi Sundowns for the South Africa league title.

Daily Monitor sought his views on last Friday’s Afcon draws that threw Uganda in arguably the toughest group involving hosts Egypt, DR Congo and Zimbabwe.
The Serb calls this Group A as the pool of death, but backs his beloved Cranes to soldier out to the last 16.

“Uganda’s chances to progress from the group of death are absolutely realistic,” said Micho.
“Having in mind that any team can beat the other in the group, you are telling yourself that you can get one win, and a draw and even one win can take you to the last 16.
However, Uganda need to have proper preparations where they need to play some Cosafa team, and central African team and an Arab team.

“Going from this group, of course it’s mathematics. In the first match against DRC, you have no right to lose.” The Serb added: “Because usually, when a team loses the first match, it becomes very hard because Uganda plays last group match against the hosts with a very large crowd.

“The pressure and whatever happens, Egypt will want to finish on a high. So Uganda need to prevent that pressure in last match by playing very well against DRC and second match against Zimbabwe.
“Against Zimbabwe, Uganda are looking for the same chance, very equal. These have played against each other in Cecafa. Teams that will qualify from this group will reach very far.

“Every single team in this group pose a special threat, and when you look at first DRC, Florent Ibenge (Congo coach) is top level, Cédric Bakambu playing in China is their danger man. They have quality allover the team.

“But if Zimbabwe could beat them in Congo, why not Uganda at a neutral ground? “In the same moment we are having Zimbabwe that has no attractive name. “But this is the team consisting of seasoned performers, from goalkeeper George Chigova to Karma Billiat upfront, Knowledge Musona playing in Belgium.
“They have an extremely strong attack, a hard-working midfield and suspect defence but with a good goalkeeper.

“They are playing first against Egypt which will be tough. If Uganda does not lose first match pressure will be on Zimbabwe in second match when they play against Uganda.”
Uganda kick off their second successive Afcon finals against DRC on June 22.