Uganda set for Angola test
Uganda Cranes are raring to go as they start their 2014 World Cup qualifiers with an audacious task away to Angola on Sunday.
The Palancas Negras of Angola will be buoyed by their last encounter with the Cranes where they were 2-0 winners at the November 11 Stadium in the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers last year.
But Bobby Williamson’s boys will also courage from the 2008 encounter in Luanda when, then under coach Laszlo Csaba, they forced the hosts into a goalless draw.
Actually, in the last four encounters in all competitions, the Cranes have an upper hand having won two, drawn one and lost once.
On the road to South Africa 2010 World Cup, Uganda thrashed Angola 3-1 in Kampala before drawing goalless in Luanda.
Then more recently in the 2012 Nations Cup qualifiers, the Cranes were 3-0 victors in Kampala only to lose 2-0 in Luanda.
“Angola are a great team with experienced players,” Bobby told SuperSport.com, adding, “But I have trust in these guys and I believe if we play to our best, we can beat anyone on our day”
But Bobby takes a side that have lost invaluable experience in retirees David Obua, hitherto skipper Ibrahim Sekagya and leftback Nestroy Kizito.
Bobby will look to field a strong midfield to counter the towering Angolans as coach Romeu Filemon’s men will be expected to have much of the ball in the centre of the park.
The Scot could either start with Johnson Bagoole sitting deep and Mawejje just in front of him to help mitigate Gilberto’s midfield dictation or fully set up a compact and hardworking midfield that will have the aforementioned with Hassan Wasswa.
That, however, will see Bobby sacrifice any of the gifted forwards Martin Mutumba or Mike Sserumaga.
Dan Wagaluka’s experience could edge our Moses Oloya’s on right midfield as the former can boasts of more discipline in helping out Simeon Masaba close down the dangerous Djalma.
It will be a tough one for Bobby whether to play Mutumba or Mike Sserumaga just behind the striker, who will most likely be Simba’s Emmanuel Okwi.
Sserumaga could still feed Okwi or Fabian Kizito and Mutumba cuts in from the left but one thing for sure the Cranes will need craft from one of the two to create that one chance to get something out of the game.
For a defensive mind, Bobby could again find himself sacrificing any of Mutumba or Sserumaga to accommodate the more defensive Habib Kavuma to help close down Mateus on the left.
All said, Uganda’s biggest and most sensitive department remains the wall in front of goalkeeper Denis Onyango.
Wasswa or Henry Kalungi have the herculean task of playing Sekagya’s role alongside Andy Mwesigwa in central defence amid the towering Manucho.
Mwesigwa and company must do better than they did in the 3-1 defeat away in Congo Brazzaville in February or Angola will have an early smile. Liberia and Senegal, Uganda's next opponents next Saturday, complete qualifying Group J.
Cranes probable line-up: 4-2-3-1
Denis Onyango, Simeon Masaba, Godfrey Walusimbi, Andy Mwesigwa, Hassan Wasswa, Dan Wagaluka, Tonny Mawejje, Johnson Bagoole, Mike Sserumaga, Martin Mutumba, Emmanuel Okwi
Substitutes: Hamza Muwonge, Denis Guma, Henry Kalungi, Habib Kavuma, Patrick Ochan, Moses Oloya, Fabian Kizito
Last four encounters between Uganda and Angola
04.09.2011 - NCQ: Angola 2-0 Uganda
04.09.2010 – NCQ: Uganda 3-0 Angola
23.06.2008 – WCQL: Angola 0-0 Uganda
14.06.2008 – WCQL: Uganda 3-1 Angola