- Pharaohs’ home form poses ultimate test for Uganda Cranes who go into tomorrow’s match without a loss.
ALEXANDRIA, EGYPT. One hallmark of Micho Sredojevic’s reign as Uganda Cranes coach was the upturn in the away form of the national team.
Previously, a game against an African powerhouse was almost a foregone conclusion that the Cranes would be run over. Even though the gap is still there, it is slim.
Any trip abroad was almost a guaranteed loss. As a matter of qualification fact, Uganda had only won twice on the road before Micho came.
That is in 2001 in Malawi and 2011 in Guinea Bissau. Under the Serb, who joined South African giants Orlando Pirates last month, Cranes won nine unprecedented games on the road.
Actually, the 1-0 victory over Cape Verde in June was Uganda’s third in the last five away Cup of Nations qualifying games. His replacement, interim coach Moses Basena, lost his first away game, beaten 2-0 in Rwanda during the Africa Nations Championship qualifiers.
Though it was insufficient for the Amavubi Stars, who had lost the first leg 3-0 in Kampala, to overturn the deficit, it represents the task Basena has to replicate Micho’s steely show.
Tomorrow’s 2018 World Cup qualifier against Egypt at Borg Al-Arab stadium in Alexandria will be Basena’s second road game.
Cranes will face a side with, as expected, a formidable home record. The seven-time African champions have not lost at home in 20 months. Jordan beat them 1-0 last January.
Before then, Senegal beat them with the same margin in November, 2014 during the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations. “We have left for Egypt with very high hopes of a good performance. Playing away from home is completely a different setting but we are ready for the battle” Basena told www.fufa.co.ug.
Thursday’s 1-0 victory over the Pharaohs, a first in 52 years, lifted Uganda to the summit of group E on seven points, one ahead of the two-time World Cup finalists. Emmanuel Okwi’s goal will have given Cranes both confidence and brought added pressure. “We will be playing a wounded Egypt on Tuesday,” Basena warned. A result in Alexandria that keeps Uganda as group E leaders will serve Basena’s hope of being given the job on a permanent basis.
While appointing him, Fufa president Moses Magogo said that Basena and his assistant Fred Kajoba would be in the jobs until after Tuesday’s game. Express’ Matia Lule and ex-Cranes defender Ibrahim Sekagya have since been added to the dugout. The latter currently works with New York Red Bulls in the USA.
“There are close friends of mine who I told that I would quit football once I turn 52 (years) because of the way we are often treated,” Basena, now 52, said.
Adding that; “I have done my job. Three games, two wins. I will leave the decision about the job to those in charge.” Over the next two weeks, Fufa will name a new Cranes’ coach.
EGYPT LAST 10 HOME GAMES
Chan qualifier: Egypt 1-1 Morocco
Friendly: Egypt 1-0 Yemen
Friendly: Egypt 3-0 Togo
Friendly: Egypt 1-0 Tunisia
WC Qualifier: Egypt 2-0 Ghana
Friendly: Egypt 1-1 Guinea
Afcon qualifier: Egypt 1-0 Nigeria
Friendly: Egypt 2-0 Burkina Faso
Friendly: Egypt 1-0 Libya
Friendly: Egypt 0-1 Jordan