The utility player, who scored four goals against South Sudan in one match during the Chan qualification campaign, is adjusting fast to life under new coach Sebastien Desabre and is now focusing on the second group game against Namibia
For this interview, Paul Mucureezi is a very guarded man. First he is not comfortable speaking to Daily Monitor unless we are authorized by the Fufa spokesperson Ahmed Hussein.
Moments later he consents but on condition that we keep it brief. It is evident all his focus on immediate matters – the crucial Group opener against Zambia at Stade De Marrakech.
That was yesterday morning just before the team’s breakfast at the plush Palmeraie Resort.
The new regime under coach Sebastien Desabre means the majority of the players are at their best behaviour to impress the Frenchman on and off the field.
In training on Saturday night, the concentration of the team was palpable. This is not to say the players didn’t show the same intensity under Micho Sredojevic but having been at the helm for four years, individuals on the national team had no doubt become used to his routine and methods to such a point that they perhaps didn’t aspire to push themselves a notch further.
Sebastien is still acquainting himself with the squad and in a way, the players have to work hardest to impress.
Mucureezi is one of them. “This is my career highlight so far,” admits the boy from Nyungamo and he is relishing every single moment. “You dream to represent your country and now that I have been selected, I want to make the most of it.”
Last night’s result in the group opener against Zambia is history and the focus is now on Namibia, Uganda’s next opponents. The game will be played on Thursday.
“Namibia is a good team,” Mucureezi observes. “And they like keeping the ball. But parts of their game are similar to their fellow southern Africans Zambia and we are ready.
“But there are no easy games at this level and we will have to be at our best.”
The cold weather in Marrakech has been biting but considering how long the team have been in Morocco, the players have now acclimatized to the wintry conditions. “Coming here earlier allowed for good preparations and the weather can’t be an excuse,” the KCCA midfielder reiterated.
In Saturday’s tournament opener, hosts Morocco whitewashed Mauritania 4-0 with all goals coming in the second half of a one-sided display.
Morocco 4-0 Mauritania
Today’s fixtures – Games on SS
Libya Vs Equatorial Guinea – 7.30pm
Nigeria Vs Rwanda – 10.30pm
Thursday– Games on SS
Ivory Coast vs Zambia – 7.30pm
Uganda Vs Namibia – 10.30pm