Chan jinx offers Micho, Fufa watershed moment

Micho is perhaps the most unpopular man in world football. PHOTO/EDDIE CHICCO 

What you need to know:

Cranes coach Micho Sredojevic's tactical  ability was stretched by in the 3-1 humbling by Ivory Coast on Sunday in Algiers as Uganda  tried to forge something while also having their backs up against the wall defensively.

Each of the three Chan Group B matches that Uganda Cranes played in Algeria brought out different concerns, lessons and a tinge of hope and retrogression.

For the umpteenth time, Uganda Cranes struggled to really find their rhythm when it mattered most   and it was apparent that they strived to press successfully as a unit.

Cranes coach Micho Sredojevic's tactical  ability was stretched by in the 3-1 humbling by Ivory Coast on Sunday in Algiers as Uganda  tried to forge something while also having their backs up against the wall defensively.

With Cranes needing a draw of any kind to progress out of the group for the first time on the sixth attempt, Micho went for a cautious 3-4-3 system to counteract the Ivorians attack minded 4-2-3-1 game plan.

By 28 minutes, Cranes were trailing 2-0, first conceding on the 12th minute when Ivorian forward Karamoko Sankara headed home past goalkeeper Nafian Alionzi unmarked and them letting Vignon Ouotro lash onto a defence splitting pass to finish off an uninterrupted.

Cranes spent large periods trying to impose themselves on the game, and Micho's side was pegged back by a  resolute Ivorian side whose life depended on winning the tie.

If anything, the Senegal 1-0 triumph for Cranes came off script and the backline expectedly were the outstanding contributors to what turned out to be a flash in the pan.

For a while, Micho's sides have been known for their defence-first stance and here in Algiers, the team  chose to rely on set pieces and longball to produce a miracle.  

The DR Congo and Senegal matches also portrayed the Serb's total distrust of ball playing attackers as Bright Anukani, Travis Mutyaba, Titus Ssematimba and Moses Aliro barely got look-ins even when the team needed to be on the front foot.

One of the three foreign coaches amongst the 18 in Algeria, Micho was tactically disarmed by Ivorian tactician Soualiho Haidara in the similar manner he couldn't get past DR Congo's Otis Ngoma. 

Tasked to deliver Uganda to the Ivory Coast 2024 Afcon finals, Micho's game plan is not beyond reproach in the tight group that has Niger, Tanzania and Algeria - and the Chan tourney was supposed to offer him a sigh of relief. 

He remains buoyant that his team is making progress and 'deserved better' but the fans' growing distrust and high player turnover threaten his project. 

Fufa nod

At least he is assured of Fufa backing for now, if the federation mouthpiece Ahmed Hussein statement yesterday is anything to go by.  "It is important to note that every Ugandan is devastated by last night’s results. If you’re not, then you ain’t part of Uganda.

"However, the transition of the team is taking shape. The technical agenda and development of the team is on the right track. That is the reality," it read in parts. 

For taking Uganda back to Afcon after 39 years in 2017, Micho endeared himself to the fans and there was an outcry when he quit. On his return in 2021, he met an exposed football nation that had tasted Sebastien Desabre's composed and attack-minded football. 

Fufa boss Moses Magogo branded Jonathan McKinstry's 2021 Cameroon Chan performance as 'shitty' when he failed to progress through the group and the same can be said of the former Orlando Pirates, Zambia, Zamalek and SC Villa coach.

Since his reappointment on July 28, 2021 on a three-year contract, Micho's major focus has been on getting Uganda play friendlies to acquaint with the advanced nations but the outcomes have barely flowed into a competitive, organised and fluent Cranes outfit.  

Welcome!

You're all set to enjoy unlimited Prime content.