CHAN 2022: Uganda Cranes to Handle Senegal Clash as a Final- Micho
Uganda Cranes will approach their game against Senegal at the ongoing TotalEnergies African Nations Championship-CHAN as the final, Head Coach Milutin Micho Sredojević has revealed. The Cranes will enter the clash on Wednesday sitting joint second with DRC in group B after the two sides played a goalless draw in the opening match on Saturday.
Senegal is leading the table with three points and a goal, courtesy of their win against Cote Devoir. While they managed to pick a point against DR Congo out of the possible three, the Cranes were as well stretching their winless run to twelve games since they last won a game at CHAN (2014).
It will be another attempt to try for the Cranes to push for a win in a Championship that has not been kind to them over the years. As they enter their do-or-die clash tomorrow, Micho’s changes will fancy a win if they are to brighten their hope to qualify for the knockout round, which they have never ever achieved in their lifetime.
But this will have to come with a lot of technical competence by the Serbian tactician who is coaching the Cranes for the third edition well knowing that they are up against one of the tournament favorites. In their first match against Congo, Micho who is known for his traditional defensive approach to the game made changes by employing at least three holding midfielders, which helped the Cranes command the ball movement in the middle of the pitch.
But, this can be explained by the team’s absence of a seasoned defensive midfielder after Siraje Sentamu, an undoubted starter, was ruled out due to injury a few days before the competition. Despite coordinating well, the team had limited creativity as the trio focused more on shielding the defense than going forward as well as wingers Rogers Mato and Milton Karisa concentrating more on helping the team defensively as they dropped back frequently to offer support to full-backs Derrick Ndahiro and James Begisa and in the end, they became less effective offensively.
Micho also didn’t opt for early substitutes and waited until late to make some changes, but most notably, leaving the most fancied attacking player Travis Mutyaba on the bench only to bring him on two minutes to full-time. The second match will test Micho’s tactics in balancing between the defense and the offense of the team.
Speaking ahead of the game, Micho did not shy away from admitting that Uganda Cranes are the underdogs in the fixture and described the game as one of high magnitude which the Cranes players must handle with a lot of hunger in order to survive, urging them to approach it as a final. The Serbian tactician further said that the technical bench is in its final touch-on of identifying the vulnerabilities of their opponents which they must exploit if they are to achieve positive results in the game.
Goalkeeper Nafian Alionzi, who also had a superb performance in the first encounter, pulling off a couple of saves to keep his side from conceding, says the team picked up a few lessons from their game against Congo and gained motivation after keeping a clean sheet. The goalkeeper however didn’t hide his nervousness against Senegal but said they are also in the championship for a strong cause and this is the time to change the narrative.
Ogwang, Magogo Visit
After their game against DR Congo, FUFA President Moses Magogo led the minister of State for Sports Hon. Peter Ogwang, the ambassador of Uganda to Algeria and the Maghreb region Hon. Alintuma Nsambu and NCS Assistant General Secretary David Katende to courtesy visit to the team.
Speaking to the players, Ogwang who first said he traveled to Algeria to officially represented the Minister for Education, urged the players to give their best because the CHAN tournament is the best platform to advertise themselves on the international market. He further urged them to handle the game against Senegal as a final if they are to progress to the next round.