Soccer. Uganda will end 39 years of painstaking wait should the Cranes see off Comoros on Sunday. Micho will use the friendly against Kenya tomorrow to get a clearer picture on which weapons to deploy
The Kenyan midfield stalwart is in town. Together with his Harambee Stars teammates, Victor Wanyama arrives at Entebbe Airport this morning to lead his side against Uganda at Namboole tomorrow.
The Cranes are using this friendly to fine-tune ahead of Sunday’s must-win Afcon qualifier against Comoros, which – with victory - will deliver Uganda to the Nations Cup finals for the first time since 1978.
The one person Wanyama is sure to meet in his full-bloodied midfield incursions is Ugandan enforcer Tonny Mawejje.
Cranes coach Micho Sredojevic is expected to give Mawejje at least 45 minutes since the Próttur Reykjavík (Iceland) midfield player, who had a game to play for his club last night, will have arrived in the country in the wee hours of tomorrow morning.
And Mawejje is looking forward to the challenge that comes with the accomplished Wanyama.
“It will be great playing against him again,” Mawejje, in his late 20s, told Daily Monitor yesterday. “He is a very good player and together with Kenya, they are good opposition. They will give us a good test before Comoros.”
Mawejje caused some stir in Kenyan media and excitement here by saying, on these pages, that he is a better midfield player than McDonald Mariga, Wanyama’s elder brother, in the run-up to the two clashes between the Cranes and Harambee Stars in 2010 and 2011.
Both ended goalless. “I remember,” he said, laughing, “But this time it’s not about who is better. No. But it brings a smile on my face whenever am to face an opponent who plays in the Premier League or from one of the best leagues.”
We’ve been here
The Cranes have been in this scenario before. They needed a draw away against Guinea in Casablanca to qualify for Equatorial Guinea but lost 2-0, needed victory over Kenya at Namboole in 2011 but fired blanks. We could go on.
Yet Mawejje believes there is a silver lining this time. “This gives us confidence because it shows how we have shortened our journey from years to 90mins,” he explained.
“However, it has happened before and our best wasn’t enough to make us break through, but trust me this time. We gonna break walls if need be.”
Elsewhere, Cranes captain Geoffrey Massa and Baroka FC (South Africa) teammate joined the team in residential camp at the weekend.
Players in camp:
Ismail Watega, Benjamin Ochan, Rashid Toha, Isaac Isinde, Nicholas Wadada, Joseph Nsubuga, Joseph Ochaya, Halid Lwaliwa, Abdulmalick Vitalis Tabu, Kezironi Kizito, Edrisa Lubega, Ivan Ntege,Timothy Awany, Khalid Aucho, Vincent Kayizzi, Goeffrey Serumkuma, Geoffrey Massa, Muhammed Shaban
2017 Afcon qualifiers, Group D
September 4, 2016
Uganda vs Comoros, 5pm
Mandela National Stadium, Namboole
Burkina Faso vs Botswana, 2pm (5pm EA)
Stade du 4 August, Ouagadougou
Tomorrow, August 30
Uganda vs Kenya, 4pm