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We must now focus on Liberia - Kajoba
02 June 2013, 14:04

Uganda must use the defeat to Libya as an inspiration to beat Liberia on Saturday, Cranes goalkeeping coach Fred Kajoba has said.

The Cranes were on a 3-0 receiving end as Libya’s Mediterranean Knights reined-in in an international friendly this weekend.

Cranes coach Milutin Micho Sredojevic used the game mainly to look as several of his players given the Serb was handling his first game since taking over from Bobby Williamson over seven days ago. He actually made a sweeping eight changes in the second half.

And Kajoba, one of Micho’s three assistants, believes Ugandans should not lose hope. “We had many new players playing today,” said Kajoba, adding, “And the coach has seen which players could fit the bill.

“We now have looked at them and we shall now pick those we think have what it takes to be considered for the two World Cup (qualifying) games against Liberia and Angola.

“We shall regroup together with the other senior players that were not in Libya and sure we shall be ready for Liberia. That’s our next focus.”

Uganda, last in their group on two points with Senegal topping with five, lost to Liberia 2-0 in their last WC qualifying game and must now win on Saturday to keep any hopes of Brazil 2014 alive.

Micho positive in defeat
02 June 2013, 14:17

Cranes coach Milutin Micho Sredojevic drew positives from a 3-0 thrashing at the hands of Libya in an international friendly in Tripoli on Saturday.

Muhammad Ali Ganudi, Abubaker Fabid and Faisal al Badr’s first half strikes condemned Micho to a debut loss nearly two weeks after his appointment as Bobby Williamson’s replacement.

But heading into Saturday’s 2014 World Cup qualifier at home to Liberia, the Serb, who attributed the loss to the Mediterranean Knights’ experience, saw some constructive strings in defeat.

“Libya are a very tough side,” said Micho, “We lost because of Libya’s experience. But for me we have a lot of positives from this match.

“We know which players we can count on for the World Cup qualifier against Liberia next Saturday.

“From this match we know which players still need exposure for such high profile international games and those who can play.”

Uganda must win their next three games starting with Liberia on Saturday, Angola seven days later and Senegal in Conakry, to stand a chance of progressing to the final qualification round.

Bottom of their qualifying pool, the Cranes currently trail leaders Senegal, who are on five points, by three.

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Cranes to return in the early hours of Monday

02 Jun 2013 Written by Ismael Kiyonga Published in Football font size decrease font size increase font size Print Email

After losing 3-0 to the Mediterranean Knights of Libya, Cranes return home in the wee hours of Tuesday to resume preparations for the forthcoming 2014 World Cup qualifiers against Liberia and Angola.

According to the Cranes Media Officer Fred Katende, the team will touch down at Entebbe Airport at 2.00am and head direct to their base at Sky Hotel, Ntinda where Coach Mulitin ‘Micho’ Sredojevic will announce the final squad to prepare for the Liberia game starting Tuesday afternoon.

“Head coach Micho will reduce the squad according to their performance in the yesterday’s (Saturday) game to make a final group which will start training on Tuesday afternoon at Namboole ahead of Liberia and Angola games”, read a post on Katende’s facebook timeline.

Kawowo Sports has learnt that six players will be dropped from the squad that lost to Libya.

The trimming of the squad follows the expected arrivals of Boban Ziritunsa (Sunday), Emma Okwi, Henry Kalungi and Sweden based Martin Kayongo Mutumba (Monday) plus Tony Mawejje, Isaac Isinde and Robert Odongkara who are expected to join camp on Tuesday.

Meanwhile team skipper Andrew Mwesigwa , defender Godfrey Walusimbi and striker Geoffrey Massa are already in the country.

Cranes face Liberia on June 8 at Mandela Stadium, Namboole before tussling it out against familiar opponents seven days later at the same venue.

Uganda lies bottom of group J and needs to win all its three remaining fixtures to enlighten chances of qualifying for the World Cup finals for the first time ever.

Uganda's next two fixtures

June 8, Uganda Vs Libya – Namboole

June 15, Uganda Vs Angola - Namboole

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Massa bullish ahead of Liberia tie
Publish Date: Jun 04, 2013

Massa is desperate to avenge the defeat away to Liberia which ultimately cost Bobby Williamson his job.
By Fred Kaweesi


Uganda v Liberia

June 15

Uganda v Angola

UGANDA Cranes’ match-winning prospects in Saturday’s World Cup qualifier against Liberia will principally depend on how the team performs in midfield.

“Of course, we will need to defend well but the most important area for us will be passing the ball better in midfield and releasing it faster or early behind the Liberian defence,” Cranes lead striker Geoffrey Massa hinted yesterday.

The Cyprus-based forward was neutralised in the 2-0 defeat to the Lone Stars in March.

He watched on in frustration as the West Africans bulldozed their way against the Cranes with a domineering performance at the back, midfield and attack.

However, although the loss in Monrovia literally ended Uganda’s interests in the World Cup qualifying campaign, Massa insists Cranes will avenge the result but with an improved display in midfield.

“We have the qualities to do that. We will simply have to press them and not allow them pressurize our back-four. They are fast but we can be faster. Of course, the surface will also be better,” he added.

Massa was rested for the friendly against Libya but will be in the reckoning for the forthcoming fixtures.

When the Cranes regroup this afternoon for their first session since the 3-0 defeat in

Tripoli, coach Micho Sredojevic will have a full squad available to enable him try out various formations.

He is expected to drop a few of the players that didn’t impress in Tripoli and rope in four of the first team regulars Andrew Mwesigwa, Henry Kalungi, Tony Mawejje and Emmanuel Okwi, who were due in the country yesterday.

Sweden-based midfielder Martin Mutumba also returns to restore his pride that faded with that dismal showing against Senegal last year.

Liberia are still sweating over the likely absence of injured first team defenders Teah Dennis and Solomon Grimes and captain Anthony Laffor.

Mutumba in squad to face Liberia
Publish Date: Jun 04, 2013

By Swalley Kenyi

World Cup qualifier


Uganda v Liberia

CRANES central defenders Israel Emuge, Ivan Bukenya and Alex Kakuba are among players who have been dropped from Coach Milutin Sredojević’s 26 man squad that is preparing for Uganda’s World Cup qualifier against Liberia on Saturday.

Sweden based midfielder Martin Mutumba who endured a torrid time in his first two games for Uganda and faced a barrage of criticism from the fans has been included for the first time since October 2012.

Cranes technical team and Sredojevic reviewed the squad that travelled to Libya for a friendly match before deciding on which players to release.

“We are going for a meeting where he (Sredojević) is expected to justify release of the players. But generally it will be about releasing players that failed to impress in Libya,” a source in the technical team said before the decision was made this afternoon.

Isaac Isinde and Henry Kalungi will replace Emuge and Bukenya while and Ethiopia based goalkeeper Robert Odongkara has been considered as a backup for Abbey Dhaira whose performance in Tripoli left a lot to be desired.

Dennis Onyango is suspended for the Liberia game.

Portugal based left-back Alex Kakuba who has impressed after coming on in the second half against Libya has made it into the final squad.

Striker Herman Wasswa who missed a host of chances to score in Tripoli has been dropped altogether. Miedfielder Musa Mudde who was unimpressive in the same game has also been dropped by Sredojevic.

The Liberian delegation jets into the country this afternoon and will be accommodated at Sojovalo Hotel in Rubaga. Match tickets will go on sale tomorrow.

SQUAD: Denis Onyango, Abby Dhaira, Hamza Muwonge, Ali Kimera, Robert Odongokara, Denis Iguma, Joseph Ochaya, Nicholas Wadada, Isaac Isinde, Joseph Mpande, Said Kyeyune, Hamis Kiiza, Moses Oloya, Baba Kizito, Luwagga Kizito, Andy Mwesigwa (cpt), Emmanuel Okwi, Tonny Mawejje, Godfrey Walusimbi, Martin Mutumba, Massa Geofrey, Henry Kalungi, Alex Kakuba, Henry Kisekka, Dan Sserunkuuma, Borban Zirintuusa, Richard Kasagga and Robert Ssentongo.

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Mutumba out to silence his critics
Publish Date: Jun 06, 2013

Mutumba meets Micho moments after arriving at Namboole Stadium for training. Photos by Mpalanyi Ssentongo
By Fred Kaweesi


Uganda v Liberia

WHEN Martin Kayongo Mutumba kicked a ball about as a teenage boy on the parish fields of Stockholm, he had two dreams.

The first was turning professional which he did after signing a lucrative deal with Swedish side AIK, and second was representing either Sweden or Uganda in a major tournament.

A couple of years down the road, he achieved the latter with the Cranes after a fine display in the 1-1 draw against Angola in Luanda.

Weeks later, the stage was then clearly set for that eagerly awaited home debut -unfortunately not in the manner that it eventually turned out in front of an expectant crowd against Senegal.

Apart from being lambasted for failing to impact on the game and perform to the bare minimum standards in front of an expectant crowd, a section of fans even raised placards that read ‘Mutumba out’ in the aftermath of the game.

However, just minutes after setting foot in the country yesterday, the Sweden-based star sounded determined to bounce back from his humiliating display in the best possible way if considered on Saturday.

“I am fit and ready for the game. I feel a lot better now. I need to meet with the rest of the team and settle in so we will talk a lot more about the game at the stadium (after my first session),” Mutumba told New Vision Sport on his way from the airport yesterday.

How Mutumba will fit in

Mutumba attended yesterday’s afternoon session with the team at Namboole.

If he impresses coach Multin Sredojevic and does start on Saturday, it will be interesting to see how the Serbian will deploy him.

In Tripoli, Micho opted for a 4-4-2 formation but would switch to a 4-3-3 to accommodate Mutumba behind the two main strikers.

Looking at the team in camp, the Cranes are blessed with more holding midfielders (Tony Mawejje, Boban Zirintunsa, and Geofrey Kizito) but with few or no player with the ability to dribble their way into the opposition through the central axis.

Mutumba’s low centre of gravity enables him twist and turn quickly, drive away from opponents in confined spaces —attributes that Cranes will need to unlock the Liberian defence.

His agility might also make him the right candidate to resolve Cranes’ troubles on the left, where Said Kyeyune and Luwagga Kizito are the only offensive-minded candidates.

Okwi, Massa to lead Cranes v Liberia
06 June 2013, 15:03

After helping Tunisia’s Du Sahel storm the Group stage of the CAF Confederations Cup, Emmanuel Okwi and Cyprus based striker Geoffrey Massa are expected to lead the goal hunt for Uganda against Liberia on Saturday.

The two teams face-off in a Group J 2014 World Cup qualifier at the 42 500 capacity Seater Mandela National Stadium, Namboole.

Head Coach Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojevic told that he is looking at the duo to provide the goals that will give the team victory.

“I trust Okwi and Massa to produce the magic,” said the Coach.

The likes of Hamis Kiiza who helped Young Africans win the Tanzania Premier League title and Daniel Sserunkuma will have to wait on the bench.

Skipper Andy Mwesigwa is expected to lead the defence, while Abbey Dhaira will be in goal in the absence of Mamelodi Sundown’s Dennis Onyango who is suspended for the game because of two yellow cards.

Uganda, fresh from a 3-0 loss to Libya in an International friendly cannot afford a loss as they bottom of Group J with two points. Senegal top the group with five points, while Liberia are in second place and Angola third.

The Lone Stars will be hoping that Anthony Laffour passes a late fitness test, while Patrick Wleh, score of one of the goals in their 2-0 win over the same team in Monrovia will be a starter on the team.

“We are here to win,” Coach Frank W. Nagwe told

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Micho faces selection dilemma
Publish Date: Jun 07, 2013

Micho chats with Geoffrey Walusimbi who was a doubt for the game during a training session at Namboole on Thursday. Photos by Mpalanyi Ssentongo

By Fred Kaweesi

2014 World Cup Qualifier

Uganda v Liberia (4pm)

JUST over 24 hours before Uganda Cranes confront Liberia in tomorrow’s cracking World Cup qualifier, coach Multin Micho Sredojevic finds himself with two vital teasers to resolve.

The Serbian is still undecided on whether to stick with a back-four of Denis Iguma, Andrew Mwesigwa, Henry Kalungi and Godfrey Walusimbi or reshuffle Kalungi with Isaac Isinde.

Micho is also yet to decide on whom among the attacking trio of Martin Mutumba, Luwagga Kizito and Said Kyeyune will offer the perfect counterbalance on the left.

Interestingly Joseph Mpande also entered the picture yesterday as contender for the same position.

Walusimbi is likely to start at left-back. In the unlikely event that Walusimbi is ignored, Joseph Ochaya could be considered.

In central defence, Isinde has gathered immeasurable experience competing in several international tournaments such as CECAFA, and doubts as to whether his 5’ 8” frame will counter Liberia’s gangly forwards are erased by the fact that he has been a fundamental figure in St. George’s historic progress to the group stages of the CAF Confederations Cup.

Iguma has started at right back in Cranes’ previous assignments but as his outing in the CECAFA Challenge Cup proved, he is clearly tailored as a centre-half rather than a full-back.

He is not as offensive minded as Nicholas Wadada but his experience gives him an edge over the Vipers right-back.

As of yesterday, Micho was impressed with the fitness levels of Tony Mawejje and Godfrey Kizito — two candidates likely to start in a conventional midfield.

This means Hassan Wasswa could start on the bench.

Moses Oloya is the undisputed choice on the right-hand side of midfield but it’s the opposite flank that has given the Serb quite a dilemma.

Does Micho opt for URA FC winger Kyeyune, who is extremely promising but short on experience, or throw a dice to choose between Mutumba and Luwagga — two improved players that have been remarkable at their respective clubs in Sweden and Portugal?

Mutumba has worked so hard and impressed at AIK Stockholm but so has Luwagga at Portuguese side Leixoes, where he scooped the club’s player of the season award.

Kyeyune is fast, intelligent and his penetrative runs are a nightmare for any full-back. On the other hand, Mutumba has a box of trickery while Luwagga will guarantee well-weighted crosses into the box.

Already, there has been enough to suggest that Geoffrey Massa could start alongside Emmanuel Okwi up front with Hamis Kizza and Dan Sserunkuuma waiting in the wings.

“The competition for places is really there but it will be up to the coach to decide on who starts. All I can say, is that every one player here is really fired up for the game,” Massa pointed yesterday.

In March, both Massa and Okwi started in Monrovia and were neutralised in the 2-0 defeat to the Lone Stars.

“Of course, we will need to defend well but the most important area for us will be passing the ball better in midfield and releasing it faster or early behind the Liberian defence,” Massa pointed early this week.

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WC qualifier: Uganda 1 Liberia 0
Publish Date: Jun 08, 2013

Tonny Mawejje scored early from an Emmanuel Okwi pass to register the only goal of the game.
By Joseph Kizza

NAMBOOLE - Multin Micho Sredojevic registered his first home victory in his new role as Uganda Cranes head coach against Liberia in a World Cup qualifier at Namboole Stadium on Saturday.

Tonny Mawejje tapped home early from Okwii through pass to give Cranes a perfect start to a crucial game before the home fans, which ended as the only goal of the evening.

There was an after-final-whistle melee that saw some Liberian players clash with match referee Cordier Adam over what appeared to be their dissatisfaction over the time. And that immediately attracted a swarm of security detail who rushed to sort matters out.

Victory against Liberia ensured that World Cup qualification for Uganda remains achievable amidst pre-match doubts over this ambitious venture.

Now the home side is elevated to second place with five points in Group Z, right under the nose of Senegal.

The elevation should come as vital relief for Coach Micho who witnessed his new side bow to defeat in a friendly against Libya recently. But then, that’s a defeat that was needed for the Serbian to realign his decisions on who to play and who to drop in Saturday’s game.

Cranes came into the qualifier on the back of two draws – with Angola (away) and Senegal (home) – and a 2-0 away win against Liberia. That had dropped them down to bottom of the group.

If there was anything the home fans needed to look forward to in the runner up of Saturday’s encounter, it was nothing short of a win for their side – a side that has come just a sniff away from a Nations Cup finals qualification in the previous two encounters.

And the players had to deal with the transition of new pitch leadership – from Bobby Williamson to Micho – and prove their worth.

Cranes pulled off an impressive start after kickoff, immediately snatching dominance of ball possession from the West African opponents. Early attempts goal-wards courtesy of the home players right away reminded the visitors of the task at hand.

Emmanuel Okwi’s runs up the right wing gave off an aura of strength and agility, shaking off his markers and delivering crosses towards the opponent’s box. That spelled busy times for Liberian goal-stopper Nathaniel Sherman.

But the visiting side was on the receiving end of early punishment when Mawejje collected a through ball from an advancing Okwi and tapped it in past a beaten Sherman.

It was never going to be a safe score for the home team, especially from the lethal counters of their opponents, courtesy of Sekou Oliseh Jabetah, Foady Eddie Boakai and Patrick Wleah. But nothing proved overly dangerous for fourth-choice Cranes keeper Robert Odongkara.

Godfrey Walusimbi a.k.a. Jjajja Walu came into the game bundled with his own emotional struggles over his ailing wife, but he established admirable command of the left wing defense with pace and quality.

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Uganda edge out Liberia
08 June 2013, 17:37

Uganda battled to a 1-0 victory over Liberia at Namboole on Saturday to keep alive their hopes of progressing to the next round of the 2014 World Cup qualifiers.

Tonny Mawejje scored the all-important goal on five minutes to send the Cranes level on five points with Senegal, who were due to face Angola in Luanda later.

Liberia remain on four and Angola on three, meaning no matter the result in Luanda, Cranes can only end the day in second place.

Uganda’s next qualifier is next weekend at the same venue, against Angola. This was coach Milutin Micho Sredojeciv’s first win in two games, the other a 3-0 friendly loss to Libya. Micho replaced Bobby Williamson three weeks ago.

The win also ensured Uganda continued their unbeaten run at Namboole. The last time the Cranes lost at the venue was in 2005.

Uganda started the match in hungrier mode, Emmanuel Okwi and Geoffrey Masswa combining but the latter’s header being saved by goalkeeper Nathaniel Sherman with the opening two minutes.

But he had no answer three minutes later when Okwi broke on the half way line down the left before releasing Mawejje, whose last goal for Cranes came at the 2010 Cecafa, to slot it in off the woodwork.

With Kizito Luwagga struggling with a first half knock, Micho introduced Martin Mutumba after recess and the Sweden-based forward redeemed his woeful display last June with some pleasing passes.

Liberia, watched by African legend George Weah in the stands, had defender Omega Roberts in superb form but the man who plies his club trade in Serbia was later involved in alterations with officials at the final whistle after Liberians deemed their officiating unfair, especially on 50-50 situations.

Micho made late substitutions, bringing on Saidi Kyeyune for Geoffrey Kizito and Daniel Sserunkuma for Emmanuel Okwi to try get another goal.

Liberia also made three substitutions, Tisdell Tonia being replaced by Eddie Boakai and Berrian Herron coming on for Oliseh Sekou, who gave Denis Guma early jitters before the defender calmed the storm. But there was letting slip at the Ugandan goal.

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Cranes Coach Micho delighted with victory
09 Jun 2013 Written by Ismael Kiyonga Published in Football

Uganda Cranes Coach Mulitin ‘Micho’ Sredojevic is delighted after his side earned a narrow 1-0 victory over Liberia in a 2014 World Cup qualifying match played at Mandela National Stadium, Namboole.

The Serb who was handling his only second game since his appointment at the helm in May however rued his side’s disallowed goal insisting the result could have been different if the goal had stood.

“The result could have been different if our goal wasn’t disallowed”, Micho told Kawowo Sports. “Nevertheless, we are happy with the result”, Micho added.

It should be noted that the referee from Chad Adam Cordier disallowed Andrew Mwesigwa’s second minute effort as well as Geoffrey Massa's second half strike for offside .

Despite victory, Micho was clear that there is a lot to work on as a team going into the next game against Angola on June 15th.

“There’s still a lot to work going into the Angola game”.

The victory puts Uganda second on the group J log with five points just one behind leaders Senegal who drew 1-1 with Angola in the other group game.

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WC qualifier: Uganda 1 Liberia 0
Publish Date: Jun 08, 2013

Tonny Mawejje (shirt 6) celebrates his goal Saturday. Photo by Silvano Kibuuka

By Joseph Kizza

NAMBOOLE - Multin Micho Sredojevic registered his first home victory in his new role as Uganda Cranes head coach against Liberia in a World Cup qualifier at Namboole Stadium on Saturday.

Tonny Mawejje tapped home early from an Emmanuel Okwi through-pass to give Cranes a perfect start to a crucial game which ended 1-0, much to the delight of the home fans.

There was an after-final-whistle melee on-pitch that saw some Liberian players clash with match referee Cordier Adam over what appeared to be their dissatisfaction over the time. And that immediately attracted a swarm of security detail who rushed to sort matters out.

Victory against Liberia ensured that World Cup qualification for Uganda remains achievable amidst pre-match doubts over this ambitious venture.

Now the home side is elevated to second place with five points in Group J, right under the nose of Senegal,who remain at the top with six points following their 1-1 draw with Angola on Saturday.

As it stands, Liberia sink to the bottom of the group with four points, and Angola in third with the same points. Uganda next plays Angola at Namboole next week on Saturday (15th).

The elevation should come as vital relief for coach Micho, who witnessed his new side bow to defeat in a friendly against Libya recently. But then, that’s a defeat that was needed for the Serbian to realign his decisions on who to play and who to drop in Saturday’s game.

Cranes came into the qualifier on the back of two draws – with Angola (away) and Senegal (home) – and a 2-0 away loss at the hands of Liberia. That had sunk them down to bottom place of the group.

If there was anything the home fans needed to look forward to in the runner up of Saturday’s encounter, it was nothing short of a win for their side – a side that has come just a sniff away from Nations Cup finals qualification in the most recent campaigns.

And the players had to deal with the transition of new pitch leadership – from Bobby Williamson to Micho – to prove their worth.

Cranes pulled off an impressive start after kickoff, immediately snatching dominance of ball possession from the West African opponents.

Early attempts goal-wards courtesy of the home players right away reminded the visitors of the task at hand.

Emmanuel Okwi’s spirited runs up the left wing gave off an aura of strength and agility, shaking off his markers and delivering crosses towards the opponent’s box.

And all this while, Geoffrey Massa was replicating such show of determination down the right.

That certainly spelled busy times for Liberian goal-stopper Nathaniel Sherman.

Eventually, the visiting side witnessed itself falling on the receiving end of early punishment when Mawejje collected a through ball from an advancing Okwi and tapped it in past a beaten Sherman.

It was never going to be a safe scoreline for the home team though.

Lethal attacks from the opposite end courtesy of a talismanic display of Patrick Wleah, commonly referred to as 'Ronaldinho', kept Micho's men ever on their toes.

The attacker, who plays for Malaysian side PKNS FC, always wriggled his way through down left, and spraying a couple of crosses dangerously inside the Cranes' box.

Sekou Oliseh Jabetah and Foady Eddie Boakai proved trouble for the home defenders, who every once in a while found themselves plunged in a mix of communication breakdown with the day's goal-stopper Robert Odongkara.

Godfrey Walusimbi a.k.a. Jjajja Walu came into the game bundled with his own share of emotional struggles over his ailing wife, but he smartly put that aside for the moment, and established admirable command of the left wing defense with pace and quality.

Oliseh's torperdo shot goalwards instantly caused a brief scare for the about 12, 000 home fans at the national stadium, but was followed with sighs of heavy relief when it floated well over the bar.

'Ronaldinho' should have leveled matters on a hot afternoon at Namboole, but his indecision to minus the ball to an invisible play-mate instead of slamming goalwards when he found himself in a juicy position, proved costly for his side in the end.

He was ever the man to look out for, with a show of strength in the air and on the ground. In fact, his aerial abilities saw him clash mid-air with Odongkara, which sent the towering keeper slamming on the ground, needing medical attention.

The home fans, armed with sporty accessories like banners, balls, artistic caps and most notably the deafening vuvuzelas, looked on in disbelief as their keeper received the attention of medics. But finally, he was able to spring back into a game that saw an equally tense second half.

The Liberians never gave off any signs of giving up, establishing an atmosphere gripped with suspense and anxiety for the final blow of the whistle by the home supporters, who saw their attacking man Massa launch a series of massively powered blows towards the other end of goal.

But the second half was to remain goalless, with Mawejje's lone strike lifting his side towards the top, heroics he replicated two years ago in a crucial Cecafa tournament in Tanzania.

He becomes the only Ugandan after ex-Cranes player Phillip Ssozi to have shaken the Lone Stars' (Liberia) net. The latter's goal won Uganda the 2000 AFCON qualifier match at Nakivubo back in 1999.

But it's not over yet. There is time to celebrate in the mean time, but each and every player on Micho's squad knows the importance of next weekend's meet with Angola.

What Cranes’ victory means
Publish Date: Jun 09, 2013

Midfield ace Mawejje grabbed the winner. Photos by Mpalanyi Ssentongo

By Vision Reporter

Uganda 1 Liberia 0

Next Game - June 15th

Uganda vs Angola

Tony Mawejje’s 4th minute strike against Liberia Saturday has opened up Group J in the African round of World Cup qualifiers.

Followed a few hours later by a 1-1 draw between Group leaders Senegal and Angola, the result in Kampala keeps Uganda Cranes hopes alive – even if just mathematical.

To make it to the final round of qualifiers, Uganda has to beat Angola in a week’s time, and then upset Senegal away in September. A neutral venue outside Senegal for the game is yet to be decided by CAF as the home ground was banned following violence in a game against Ivory Coast last year.

Saturday’s result was also a first victory for new coach Sredojevic Milutin Micho in his debut competitive game. Micho’s Uganda Cranes were humbled 3-0 by Libya in his first game in charge, a friendly in Tripoli.

Martin Mutumba had a great game as a substitute late in the game. PHOTO/Mpalanyi Ssentongo

In this game, Micho chose to pack the midfield to neutralize the threat posed by Liberia’s key players, captain Anthony Laffor and Oliseh Sekou. The two dangerman were given little space, and the frustration showed when referee Adam Corier blew the final whistle.

Liberian players surrounded the referee and assaulted him, but riot police stepped in to control the situation.

In the match itself, the Ugandan Cranes had outplayed the Lone Stars who should have counted themselves lucky not to have conceded two in the first three minutes alone. The pressure climaxed with a well weighted pass by Emmanuel Okwi that Mawejje latched onto to score in the 4th.

This round two has 10 groups. Winners of the ten groups will advance to Round 3, where the top five make it to the World Cup in Brazil.

The ten group winners from Round 2 will contest Round 3. The teams will be paired into five home-and-away ties. The matches will likely be played between 11-15 October and 15-19 November 2013. The five teams that win their respective ties will qualify for the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

Starting line-ups Saturday

Uganda: 8- Robert Odongkara, 14- Andrew Mwesigwa, 5- Isaac Isinde, 12- Iguma dennis, 15- Walusimbi Godfrey, 16- Wasswa Hassan, 22- william kizito Luwaga, 7- okwi emmanuel, 3- Kizito Geofrey, 6- Mawejje Tony, 11- Massa Geofrey

Liberia: 1- Sherman Nathaniel, 23 Lafor Anthony, 18-Jallabah Francis, 7-Toure Ansu, 6- Alamadine Omega, 8-Wesseh Solomom, 4- Lewis Theo Weeks, 10-oliseh sekou Jabeth, 21- Foday eddie Boaki, 13-Wleh Patrick Ronaldinho, 20- Krangar Zah Rahan

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Massa seeks to end goal drought
Publish Date: Jun 11, 2013

By Fred Kaweesi

2014 World Cup qualifier

Saturday, 4pm

Uganda v Angola

IN football, every striker’s dream is to score in every game. Even when the goals are not that consistent, there must be at least a couple scored over a period of time to make him stand out from the crowd.

Cranes lead striker Geoffrey Massa is much aware of that and it bothers him that since the curtains of the 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign were raised, he has not found the target.

Instead, it has been a left back Godfrey Walusimbi and midfielder Tony Mawejje who came to the team’s rescue in the games against Senegal and Liberia.

Emmanuel Okwi scored the all-important goal in the 1-1 draw against Angola in Luanda —a game Massa missed due to injury.

“I desperately wanted to score against Liberia but it didn’t happen although I feel my two goals should not have been disallowed,” the Cyprus based striker pointed.

Against Liberia, Massa had two goals ruled out for offside -a header in the early stages of the game and a belter with his left foot deep into the second half that rattled the inside before flying back into play.

But if his overall contribution in the 1-0 win over the West Africans was a preview of this Saturday’s fixture against Angola, then Massa most definitely looks on his way to ending his World Cup qualifiers’ goal drought.

While the 27-year-old has not yet found the back of the net, his overall form has immensely improved.

“I hope I will be lucky this time against Angola. Of course we will try to continue to work as a team and if we succeed, it won’t matter who scores. I only hope I am lucky with the opportunities I get,” he added soon after regrouping with the rest of the team yesterday.

Coach Micho Sredojevic will spend the next couple of days designing a tactical strategy that will find answers to a couple of weaknesses that Liberia exposed in the team.

The Serbian will also not hesitate reminding his charges on the dangers of reading too much from Uganda’s dominant run over the Southern Africans.

“We need to be careful and forget our past against them,” Micho hinted, referring to Uganda’s overwhelming 3-0 and 3-1 wins over the Black Antelopes in 2008 and 2010 respectively.

“They (Angola) play Portuguese kind of football. I have an idea of the threat they will pose. It’s a different challenge from Liberia. They are a very good team that try to possess, pass the ball extremely fast and utilise the wide areas,” he added.

Among the key issues, Micho will try to review is whether to stick with the same back-four that looked shaky or make adjustments.

He will review the four-man midfield that started against the Lone Stars and decide whether to play a compact midfield game or utilise the wide areas this time.

How about the contributions of both Moses Oloya and Martin Mutumba? Should they start or come off the bench? Denis Onyango returns to the first team after serving his one-match suspension.

Although he is an obvious choice in goal, the Mamelodi Sundowns goalkeeper will still be challenged to prove his fitness. Robert Odongkara will then move to the bench.

Cranes sweat over Okwi's fitness
Publish Date: Jun 11, 2013

Okwi constantly unsettled the Liberia defence and set up the winning goal. Photo by Mpalanyi Ssentongo
By Julius Senyimba

CRANES striker Emmanuel Okwi sat out Tuesday morning’s session after he picked up a thigh injury during yesterday afternoon’s training session.

Okwi who played the full 90 minutes in last Saturday’s win against Liberia at Namboole will be key to Cranes coach Micho Srejodevic’s plans when they take on Angola in 4 days’ time.

Micho conducted the training session that focused on short passes and movement and had the full squad at his disposal except Okwi.

The Tunisia based striker attributed the injury to the training surface outside Namboole where training was conducted after the squad was denied access to the main stadium facilities.

“The injury is not serious, it will be fine after a simple massage but this pitch is bad. It is too hard which is a risk to ankle injuries,” Okwi explained after Monday’s session which finished with him as a spectator.

Cranes spokesman Katende Malibu this morning informed New Vision Sport that Okwi continues to be assessed.

“As a result of the state of the training surface, Okwi has now been rested as a precautionary measure for the morning session but the medical team is positive that by tomorrow he will begin light training,” Malibu revealed.

The morning session was carried out on the same problematic surface outside Namboole and Malibu says the search for an alternative venue is still ongoing.

“We are waiting for Cranes manager Crispus Muyinda to secure another venue for training because the coach is not happy with the state of the current pitch and he fears other players could also pick up injuries.” he added.

Ochaya confirms trials in Germany
Tuesday Jun 11, 15:03 +0200

Joseph Ochaya of Uganda Asante Kotoko’s left wingback

Joseph Ochaya Benson has finally confirmed he will be traveling to Germany for trials with relegated Germany Bundesliga side Greuther Furth FC.

The gifted Ugandan player told said after the Cranes training that he will head to Germany after the match with Angola on Saturday.

“I should have been in Germany now, but will first complete the game and fly back to Ghana and later connect to Germany for the trials,” said the 19-year old.

He explained that his good show in the Ghana League had interested many people.

Ochaya’s team is currently top of the table in Ghana as they go into the last League games on June 23 which will determine the champion.

“I have worked hard in Ghana and will also give my best when I travel to Germany for trials. Some of these chances come once as a footballer and I am ready to take it because it has always been my dream to play in Europe,” said Ochaya.

Ochaya joined Asante Kotoko from KCCA FC as a replacement for Baba Rahman, who left the Club for another Germany side Hoffenheim.

The talented player was not used as a substitute in the Cranes’ 1-0 win over Liberia last Saturday in a 2014 World Cup qualifier.

Last month the club, however, denied reports that the player was heading to Germany for trials.

Asante Kotoko’s Administrative Manager Ben Nti said they were not aware of any interest for Ochaya from Germany.

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Cranes injury crisis deepens
Publish Date: Jun 12, 2013

Striker Emmanuel Okwi is one of the Cranes stars battling for fitness ahead of Saturdays encounter. Photo by Mpalanyi Ssentongo

By Fred Kaweesi

World Cup qualifier

Saturday, 4pm

Uganda v Angola

CRANES’ preparations for Saturday’s World Cup qualifying showdown against Angola are being undermined by an injury crisis.

Apart from the possibility of losing striker Emmanuel Okwi for the make-or-break fixture this weekend, the Cranes medical team is also striving to ensure first choice goalkeeper Denis Onyango recovers from the ankle knock he suffered in training yesterday.

Okwi, who scored the all-important equaliser against Angola during the two sides’ meeting in Luanda, sustained a thigh injury after colliding with Liberia defender Ansu Toure last Saturday.

He decided to carry on and although he was substituted in the later stages of the game, it seemed the Tunisia-based striker had aggravated it by then.

Okwi did not train with the rest of the team on Monday but was involved in the afternoon session yesterday although with a lot of precautionary measures.

“We will rest him and see how he trains in the afternoon,” coach Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojevich had hinted earlier in the morning before being confronted by another scare in the goalkeeping department.

Onyango was expected to return to the first team after serving a one-match suspension.

But that might just not happen unless he shakes off that recurring injury problem on his left knee.

The Mamelodi Sundowns goalkeeper hinted it is the same injury that ruled him out of competitive football for a period of three months almost a year ago.

What are the options?

In the event that Okwi is ruled out, Micho will have three choices in Dan Sserunkuuma, Hamis Kiiza or Robert Ssentongo from which to choose who will partner lead striker Geoffrey Massa in attack.

There is a suggestion that Micho might consider Sserunkuuma ahead of the other two given that he chose the Gor Mahia striker as Okwi’s replacement against Liberia.

Enough has been seen and said of Serunkuuma, looking at his achievements with Gor Mahia throughout the previous season, where he scored 17 goals —an unbelievable return for a player whose tiny size was dwarfed by 99% of the defenders he battled through the entire season.

Sserunkuuma’s first touch continues to be brilliant and movement into the box good enough to counter even gangly defenders twice his 5ft 1 inch size.

Sserunkuuma is not so different from Ssentongo, which means Kiiza will only be considered if the Serbian opts for a different tactical approach.

Unlike Sserunkuuma and Ssentongo, Kiiza thrives more on good positional sense in the box and above all the anticipation of being in the right place at the right time.

Joseph Mpande is also another attacking option.

In a related development, Angola will make the trip to Kampala without their lead striker Manucho Goncalves.

They will consequently rely on Brazil-based Geraldo, Mateus Galliano and Afonso Guilherme, who scored in Angola’s 1-1 draw against Senegal last weekend.

Cranes keeper misses training
12 June 2013, 11:24

Cranes first choice goalkeeper Denis Onyango remained a doubt for Uganda’s World Cup assignment this Saturday after suffering a knee injury.

Onyango missed both morning and evening training sessions at Namboole on Tuesday as Uganda continued preparations for this week’s crucial World Cup qualifier against Angola in Kampala.

“We continue working with Onyango and monitoring his progress,” said Fred Kajoba, the Cranes goalkeeping coach, adding “There is good progress and we are hopeful he will be fine for the game against Angola.”

Onyango is one ever present Cranes player but missed last weekend’s 1-0 victory over Liberia through suspension.

St George’s Robert Odongkara took his position between the sticks ahead of Abel Dhaira and hardly disappointed.

The Cranes must win their next and only two fixtures against Angola and Senegal to progress to the final round of qualification.

Uganda lie second in Group J with five points, one behind leaders Senegal, following the victory over Liberia.

Okwi Dismisses Injury Fears

Uganda Cranes striker Emmanuel Okwi has declared himself fit for Saturday’s crucial World Cup qualifier against Angola.
By Stephen Muneza 40 minutes ago

Okwi who played the full 90 minutes in last Saturday’s win against Liberia at Namboole complained of pains with his muscles after training on the rough surface of the pitch outside Namboole stadium.

However, the Tunisia-based star after light training on Tuesday evening to ChimpReports:"It’s was just a cramp I am perfectly okay and looking ahead to our game on Saturday."

When asked on why the five strikers on the team were giving less returns in scoring, the Etoile Du Sahel striker admitted they had a lot to do in such a short time.

“But we are human and every person has seen his mistakes and within these remaining few days we have to do our best and make sure by Saturday we are fresh and ready for the game,” he said.

“We have good chances against Angola mostly that we are home but we shouldn’t relax because Angola is a good team.” added the man who scored in the 1-1 away draw with Angola.

First choice goalkeeper Dennis Onyango who missed the Liberia game out on suspension missed a second day of training with a thigh strain while midfielder Hassan Wasswa yesterday also picked up a slight knock after colliding with Asante Kotoko left-back Joseph Ochaya in training.

Cranes are second in Group J with five points behind table leaders Senegal. The Cranes will face Senegal in the last Group game in September at a neutral venue.


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Cranes 2nd choice left Back set for Germany Trials

Asante Kotoko’s Joseph Ochaya set for Greuther Furth trials

By Edmund Okai Gyimah0
May 26, 2013 3:41:00 PM

The German club have handed the Kotoko left back a two-week trial in June

Kumasi Asante Kotoko defender, Joseph Ochaya will be travelling to Germany next month for trials with Greuther Furth.

The Ugandan has had a decent campaign with the ‘Porcupine Warriors’ in his debut season.

The 19-year-old, if successful will be purchased by the relegated Bundesliga side as a replacement for Ghanaian left back, Baba Abdul Rahman who is set to leave the club.

Kotoko are likely to fetch an amount in the region of 600,000 Euros if Ochaya excels in the two-week trials.

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Emma Okwi remains doubtful for Angola tie
12 Jun 2013 Written by Ismael Kiyonga

Striker Okwi is being helped off the pitch by team physician
Photo: John Batanude

June 15, 2013

Uganda Vs Angola – Mandela National Stadium, Namboole

Cranes striker Emmanuel Okwi faces a tight fitness race if he is to be available for selection on Saturday when Uganda Cranes hosts Angola in the 2014 World Cup qualifiers.

The Etoile Du Sahel forward who suffered a thigh injury on Monday couldn’t finish today’s training session after twisting an ankle when he collided with central defender Savio Kabugo.

Nevertheless, team doctor Ronald Kisoro remains optimistic the striker will shake off the injury and feature against Angola.

“We remain hopeful on Okwi. Its three days to the game thus we have time to assess him before the game”, Kisoro told Kawowo Sports in the aftermath of Wednesday training session.

Okwi is the only striker on the national team on the score sheet in the campaign after he scored a late equalizer in the reverse fixture against Angola in June 2012.

The Cranes have only managed a paltry three goals in four games. Left full back God Walusimbi’s penalty against Senegal and Tony Mawejje winner against Liberia are the other goals managed by the Cranes in the campaign.

In case Okwi fails to recover in time, Robert Ssentongo, Hamis Kiiza, Geoffrey Massa and Dan Sserunkuma will be the left options up front from which Coach Micho can pick.

On the other hand, custodian Denis Onyango trained with team albeit receiving due attention from the team medics every after recess.

"I feel better now and hopefully, i will be available on Saturday", he told Kawowo Sports.

CECAFA invites URA FC for 2013 Kagame Cup
12 Jun 2013 Written by Ismael Kiyonga

URA FC players

Following the withdraw of Kenya Premier League Champions Tusker FC and Tanzania giants Yanga FC and Simba SC from the 2013Kagame Cup championship, the Council of East and Central African Football Association-CECA FA has invited former Uganda champions URA FC to the tournament due on 18th June to 2nd July 2013 in Sudan.

In a letter addressed to the Federation of Uganda Football Association (FUFA) President and copied to URA FC, CECAFA General Secretary Nicholas Musonye said “We would like to inform you that CECAFA is interested in inviting URA to Kagame Cup in Sudan from June 18th to July 2nd 2013″.

URA FC represented Uganda in 2012 Kagame Cup held in Dar Es Salaam last year where they were drawn with Simba SC of Tanzania, Vita Club(Guest team form DR. CONGO) and Ports AS of Djibouti.

Kawowo Sports’ efforts to talk to club officials on whether they will honour the invitation were futile as none could pick their phones.

In case they honour the invitation, they will join 2011/12 Uganda Super League (USL) winners Express FC at the tournament.

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Cranes vs Angola player ratings
Publish Date: Jun 15, 2013

Okwi celebrates his equalising goal that sparked Cranes comeback. Photo by Mpalanyi Ssentongo
By James Bakama

UGANDA Cranes staged a stunning comeback to beat Angola 2-1 to go top of Group J in the 2014 World Cup qualifier played at Namboole Stadium.

Tonny Mawejje scored a dramatic 90th minute winner to sink Angola after Emmanuel Okwi levelled matters on 82 minutes in reply to Angola taking a 57th minute lead.

Below are the individual players ratings for the Cranes.

Robert Odongkara 4

Always seemed on the wrong foot. He misjudged most balls in his territory. Angola’s goal was a classic case of his poor positioning.

Denis Iguma 4

Most of his balls were blind. For a fullback, who was supposed to start most of his team’s moves, this was unacceptable.

Godfrey Walusimbi 7

As solid as a rock. His game reading was superb. He was equally good in attack.

Isaac Isinde 7

A brainy performance. Always well positioned to save his defence.

Andy Mwesigwa 5

He stuck to the basics and delivered as required. But as a skipper he must take up a more commanding role to organize his defence.

Geoffrey “Baba” Kizito 6

He held up the midfield. Effective both in attack and defense.

Hassan Wasswa 5

An imposing figure but must get more creative on his final pass.

Moses Oloya 7

A creative midfielder whose dribbling skills always had Angola’s defence on the back heel.

Tonny Mawejje 8

His winning goal set him in a class apart. He also stood out as midfield workhorse.

Geoffrey Masa 5

He kept the Angola defence busy but failed in his cardinal role of scoring. Missed chances that any amateur would have scored.

Emma Okwi 9

He not only scored the equalizer, but also created the winner. A brainy player who rose from an injury to sparkle.

Robert Ssentongo 6

Came on as a substitute and kept the Angola busy.

Martin Mutumba 7

Redeemed himself after a shaky Cranes performance last year. This time he confidently sprayed killer passes. He also dribbled at will.

Hamis “Diego” Kiiza 6

His runs on the right flank gave the Cranes more punch after he came on as a substitute.

How Micho outfoxed Angola
Publish Date: Jun 17, 2013

By Fred Kaweesi

IN the aftermath of his post-match media briefing on Saturday, coach Mulitin ‘Micho’ Sredojevich was swept off his feet and later tossed up in the air by hundreds of jubilant Cranes fans that had found their way down on the running track.

He was helpless and not in control of himself any more.

The Serbian was later carried around the pitch like a kindergarten kid that had just passed his Primary Leaving Examinations (PLE).

“I was high up there and had no idea of what was happening. I later felt hands inside my pockets. But I don’t move with money because I read about Mohammed Abbas’ case when he lost dollars,” Micho stated.

“You know I am a Kajjansi,” he added. Kajjansi is a local phrase used to identify someone who is stingy —and such types of people normally follow situations to the smallest detail.

This probably best explains why Sredojevich had all the answers against Angola. That even after going a goal down against the Black Antelopes, he still knew how to sneak his way out of trouble and guarantee that remarkable 2-1 fight-back on Saturday.

“I had done my homework. I had prepared well, for all situations. I knew what we had to do if we scored or conceded.”

Micho had spent the previous days taking his charges through video footage of the opposition —highlighting their strengths and weaknesses.

After closely watching recorded footage of Cranes game in Luanda, he was in position to design a strategy where his side would stifle their opponents’ game plan.

Micho was well aware of the threat that Djalma Campos posed in the 1-1 draw in Luanda last year where he helped Angola to an early lead.

He was convinced that the best possible way of unsettling Angola was to possess the ball and pass better in midfield while denying their lead striker Galiano Mateus space to run at the back-four.

Of course, the task ahead against Senegal will be daunting —no doubt —but the Cranes now have every reason to believe. They simply need to replicate their performance against Angola.

The only downside to Cranes impressive performance on the afternoon was their inefficiency in front of goal.

Not once but four times did the Cranes expose Angola with clear chances and yet still conspired to miss through Tony Mawejje, Geoffrey Massa on two occasions and later Emmanuel Okwi in the first 45 minutes that Micho later described as the best in his coaching career.

The performance was splendid but with no goals to match.

But if there was one message, it was that the next 45 minutes could still present Cranes with that anticipated breakthrough.

And why not? considering that African heavyweights Nigeria, Ghana had all fallen at Mandela Stadium before and so had Angola in 2008 and 2010.

It explains why fans were both thunderstruck and concerned when Angola took the lead through Ricardo Estavao on 57 minutes. They were not convinced Cranes had it in them to rise from the dead as clearly lady-luck seemed to have eluded them.

That although Cranes had fallen behind in the games against Niger (3-1) in 2007 and Benin (2-1) in 2008 but still fought back and won, Angola were a stronger proposition altogether.

Micho —the ‘special One’

But great coaches are assessed on the basis of how well they influence games and this is where Micho passed with high grades.

Everything is going so well for the Serbian right now that he must feel like he could walk on water.

Coaches are normally helped in their jobs by a few things that aren’t for sale in any transfer window: resources, timing and luck to name but three.

And yet on Saturday, he needed more than just that to defy all the odds that were up against him.

He had already chosen the right tactics, selected the right players, tried to get the best possible performance out of them and yet still had to make right tactical adjustments to overturn Angola’s lead.

“It was like I was in a casino. I had to gamble with two players I hadn’t used before, but whom I knew were experienced enough,” Micho told New Vision Sport.

He made three changes. He brought on Robert Ssentongo and Hamis Kiiza for striker Massa and Moses Oloya.

The changes re-energised the Cranes, who even got better when the muchimproved Martin Mutumba came on for Geoffrey Kizito.

At 5ft 1inch, Ssentongo is not the ideal centre forward but what he and Kiiza offer is work ethic, determination and never-say-die attitude —the kind that kick-started the move that set up Tony Mawejje for the winner minutes after Okwi had stunned Angola with a swerving belter on 83 minutes.

When Kiiza chased a seemingly lost ball down the right, there seemed to be no danger. He had two touches before playing the ball at the far post for Okwi whose deft header across goal found Mawejje for the second goal.

In the last two weeks, Micho has managed to bring the best out of Mawejje. He was always technically good but lacked tactical awareness.

Uganda Cranes 2 Angola 1
Publish Date: Jun 15, 2013

Mawejje wheels away in celebration after nodding in the winning goal. Photos by Mpalanyi Ssentongo

By Pius Arinawe

World Cup qualifier

Uganda 2 (Okwi 82', Mawejje 90') Angola 1 (Estevao 57')

NAMBOOLE - Uganda Cranes staged a stunning comeback to beat Angola 2-1 to go top of Group J in the 2014 World Cup qualifier played at Namboole Stadium.

Tonny Mawejje scored a dramatic 90th minute winner to sink Angola after Emmanuel Okwi levelled matters on 82 minutes in reply to Angola taking a 57th minute lead.

Coach Micho Sredejovic was taking charge of only his second competitive game in charge of the Cranes since his appointment.

Micho made just one change to the team that defeated Liberia 1-0 last Saturday, bringing in Moses Oloya for Kizito Luwaga in midfield.

Emmanuel Okwi celebrates scoring the equalising goal that sparked Cranes' incredible comeback.

The hosts dominated much of the first half and created a host of opportunities thanks to some great interplay between Okwi and Geoffrey Massa upfront.

Oloya was a constant threat throughout and troubled Angola’s left back.

Massa was guilty of fluffing plenty of chances in the first half in which Uganda could have ended with three goals to the good. Marques in the Angola goal pulled off a string of saves to keep his side in the game.

Micho's men began the second half strongly and created a couple of chances but still couldn’t find the back of the net.

Coach Micho reacts after one of the many missed chances during the game.

They were made to rue those misses when Angola took the lead in the 57th minute through Estevao who curled the ball from outside the penalty area to Robert Odongkara’s left hand post to leave the custodian with no chance.

Micho immediately responded by introducing Hamis Kizza and Robert Ssentongo for Oloya and Massa.

The double change sparked life into the attack and it wasn’t long before Okwi, who was a constant menace for the Angolan defence all afternoon, found an equaliser, spraying an air of relief and more anxiety towards the home fans.

Okwi ran with the ball down the right hand side and his cross-cum-shot beat Marques for flight, wrong-footed the keeper and flew into an unguarded net from the most unlikely of angles on 82 minutes.

Martin Mutumba, who was introduced shortly before the equaliser, was by now pulling the strings in midfield and ran at the visitors’ defence before playing Kizza through on goal.

Before Kizza could pull the trigger, he was fouled on the edge of the penalty area by Mufuta who was promptly shown a red card for the offence.

Cranes show resolve in remarkable comeback

Mawejje (M) capped an impressive display with Uganda Cranes’ winning goal on Saturday. PHOTO BY EDDIE CHICCO

By Andrew Mwanguhya

Posted Monday, June 17 2013 at 01:00



Kampala- That Uganda saw off Angola at the Namboole fortress in full view of over 40,000 spectators on Saturday in itself was not the foremost shift.

But the modus in which they completed the recovery, an inspiring Emmanuel Okwi on the magic switchboard of a 2-1 remarkable victory that not only continued Uganda’s eight-year unbeaten home run, but kept enough fuel in the tank until Cranes meet Senegal in September in Group J’s final game, left everyone awestruck.

Milutin Micho Sredojevic’s men showed an astonishing character in wresting victory from the jaws of defeat, such mettle that has eluded the Cranes in similar circumstances recently. The last time Uganda won a qualifier at Namboole after falling behind was seven years ago - a 2-1 victory over Nigeria, but the manner in which that was conjured left a bitter taste in the visitors’ mouth thanks to some questionable decisions on one of the two penalties.

But on an evening multitudes of Ugandans descended upon the stadium named after the ailing South African icon, Nelson Mandela, the Cranes did it all fair and square and without external help, but mainly the magic of Okwi and Tonny Mawejje, who was making it two-time lucky following his act against Liberia seven days earlier.
Here are some talking points from action at Namboole.

Okwi is Cranes talismanic striker
An enigma of a striker, whose body language at times triggers fan-substitutions, was as magical on the day as his recovery from an ankle injury picked just two days to the match. After getting the confirmed Cranes lineup - apart from Moses Oloya - the only change from the team that started against Liberia, Okwi’s name struck me like a sharp knife. “Whether Okwi is fully fit is a tale to be told on the pitch over two hours away. Striker twisted an ankle on Wednesday,” my tweeting fingers typed away.

And boy did he tell the tale! Micho must be as delighted as the Etoile du Sahel striker for he never betrayed the Serb’s faith in him.

First, Okwi was running rings around Fabricio Mafuta and company but Geoffrey Massa hardly did justice to the service on three-plus counts. Okwi did disappear midway but when he resurfaced, it was with a bazooka that Angola goalkeeper Hugo Marques had to be at full stretch to keep out.

And then an in-swinging cross that ended in Marques’ goal after the goalkeeper misjudged the ball’s flight to delight of the frenzied stadium and chagrin of the visitors, who had led thanks to Ricardo Estevao’s goal.

Okwi was not done, though. Just like he did the week before, he crafted for Mawejje to seal the sweet victory. On the evening, Okwi, who loves using the ball rather than get bored up field, proved he is Uganda’s talisman.

Mutumba the playmaker Cranes want
From a decoy he was against Senegal, through a recovery session against Liberia to a more astute player he was after coming on as substitute against Angola, Martin Mutumba is slowly but steadily winning over Cranes faithful and his place on the team.

Out goes Massa for Robert Ssentongo, in comes Hamis Kiiza for Moses Oloya, and Mutumba for Geoffrey Kizito… Micho had made some telling switches.

Mutumba was suddenly everywhere, threading a no-look pass to Okwi, gliding a through ball to Kiiza only for the striker to be tagged down by Fabricio, the defender seeing red for that, and beating an Angolan defender into submission at the corner flag to cap his 28th birthday. This is the kind of player Cranes want, one who can hold onto the ball and pick out that telling pass – in adversity.

Massa gave critics rope to hang him
Massa does not deserve crucifixion for an admittedly abysmal performance. He is not your one-goal a match striker but his performance when he came on as sub against Senegal, his goal agaist Zambia and general play against Liberia are testament he is not as bad a player as the one on Saturday evening.

But on the day, the Cyprus-based striker handed his critics the rope to hang him. Three glaring missed chances, including an empty net when Marques was miles off his line, plus lack of assuredness on the ball saw his poor day at office ended by Robert Ssentongo’s introduction. Only Godfrey Walusimbi, a usually calm personified left back, had a poorer day.

Tonny reminds us of the Mawejje we once anticipated
Finally Mawejje is playing with life again, and Mawejje can see the goal clearly, twice in seven days.

If his finish against Liberia was clinical, Saturday’s header was simply devilish, even brutal.

Club uncertainty has seen the midfielder miss the Liberia trip unfit but after returning to IBV in Iceland, Mawejje, who has been adventurous in the last two games, is close to the player that once threatened class.

Technically better side could slay Uganda
Of course the result keeps Uganda in with a credible shout at progressing but let the scoreline not mask the Cranes’ vulnerability.

Going into the final group game at a neutral ground against Senegal, Uganda’s porous midfield and conjecture in defence, exposed by both Liberia and Angola, are reason to worry.

Senegal were miles ahead in expression when they met Uganda last year and, given their class and Uganda’s travel tales, could hurt Micho’s men badly if the midfield and defence carelessly lose possession the way Baba, Hassan Wasswa, Isaac Isinde, Andy Mwesigwa and Godfrey Walusimbi at times did.

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Odongkara eyes top Italian Club
20 Jun 2013 Written by David Isabirye Published in Football

Odongkara at his Entebbe-Katabi Residence during the interview
Photo: David Isabirye

A top Italian club is in secret talks with Uganda Cranes and St George goalie, Robert Odongkara. “The club agent has been in constant contact with me since the two Uganda Cranes 2014 World Cup Qualifiers at Namboole against Libera and Angola", Odongkara says.

Kawowo Sports' David Isabirye had an exclusive interview at the Entebbe-Katabi residence of the shot stopper whose humble personality off the soccer turf has never reflected his agility and hard to beat antics while in the goal posts on the pitch.

“At the moment, I will not let the cat out of the bag because I believe it is not the right time since I still have a running contract with my Ethiopian club, St George till June 2014. For now, I can reveal that it is a Serie B club,” a press shy Odongkara begins to open up.


Born on 2nd September 1989 to the late Jimmy Achaye and Rose Anyeko in Kitgum, Northern Uganda, Odongkara , a second born in the family of 6, faced many challenges because his father’s incomes off his security job were too little to support the family.

Nevertheless, he managed to start his elementary education at Murchison Bay Primary school (Luzira in Kampala) before he completed his Primary Leaving Examinations at Rev. John Kitintale Primary School.

His secondary school journey was perhaps more complicated as he had to study from three different schools and districts: Sir Samuel Baker (Gulu) and Town College (Kitgum) for his Ordinary Level Certificate before transferring to Entebbe based Entebbe Parents in Wakiso District for the Advanced Level (A-Level).

“After A-level, dad had no money, I played Masaza football with Mawogola (in 2008) for a living then. Its from there that I was spotted by Coach Tamale Pinto to go to S.C Villa,” recollects Odongkara of his trend to success.


Odongkara attests his love for the goal posts to former Cranes Goal Custodian, Ibrahim Kongo, formerly of UEB (Umeme), KCC, SC Villa, Express and later Uganda Revenue Authority. “I grew up in Luzira, watching Kongo make darling saves, I wished to be like him one day”. Odongkara , who also admires Cranes teammate and friends Godfrey ‘Jajja Walu’ Walusimbi and Emma Okwi, says.

Odongkara, still reserves praises for Former Cranes talisman and Captain, Ibrahim Ssekagya for his awesome leadership abilities on and off the soccer turf. “Ssekagya would point out your weaknesses and praise you where it is due,” says the shot stopper.

In Ethiopia, Odongkara loves to watch his teammate, Bekele Shamarezi in action and on the international scene, Spain and Real Madrid Captain Ike Casillas is his pick.


When his father, Jimmy Achaye passed on in February 2008, surely, Odongkara lost a dad, a friend, a counselor and a motivator. 4 Years after the demise, he found a perfect replacement in a Serbian national, Milutin 'Micho' Sredojevic , the current Uganda Cranes coach, whom he first interacted with personally during his early days at St.George in 2012.

“Coach Micho is more of a dad to me. He would advise me, that the football spell as a player is very short, I needed to live a responsible lifestyle, and to save the little I have and become a better and respected person in the community”, Odongkara says of the Serbian as tears roll down his cheeks.


On every street, the cooperates, markets, learning institutions, taxi and bus parks, restaurants, pubs, hotels, casinos and even among the ladies of the night, the name Odongkara sinks at the back of every one’s mind at first mention.

Infact at one stage, the Ethiopian Football Federation approached Odongkara with a hefty offer to nationalize and play for the horn of Africa, something he vividly rejected with a hope of playing for the Cranes.

“They presented before me a 60 Million proposal to become Ethiopian, which I ignored because, I knew my chance with the Cranes was coming. Everyone in life has that chance. Whether my mentor Onyango was injured or not and my time had approached, it would still be me in the Cranes goal posts”, a smiling Odongkara, who now speaks fluent Amharic, the Ethiopian National Language, says.

Speaking of his first Uganda Cranes assignment, he confesses that he was more than comfortable to face fresh challenges. “On a debut, any other person can develop nerves, but I adjusted quickly and played my game”, he adds.

Today, Odongkara takes full care of his siblings Beatrice Atim, Christine Akello, Sandra Aber, Dennis Okot and Emma Ochitti. He is the family’s main bread winner. He has invested immensely in the real estate business with four different land plots and structures in Entebbe Municipality.

The roller coaster journey of Odongkara has been a challenging trend; though he is set to reach even greater professional heights with prospects of joining the European scene envisaged in this Italian deal being negotiated. As usual, Kawowo Sports will keep you updated with the latest developments to unfold.


Northern Elephants F.C (Kitgum)-2002/3

Mupero Tanda F.C (Entebbe)-2004/6

Club Sportive (Entebbe)-2007

S.C Villa (Kampala)-2008/10

Uganda Revenue Authority (URA)-2011

St George (Ethiopia)- 2012-Todate

5,740 Posts
Six regional stadiums to get facelift
Publish Date: Jun 24, 2013

By Norman Katende

STATE minister for sports Charles Bakkabulindi has said that a plan is underway to see that all government infrastructures get a facelift, as this is the basis of sports development in the country.

Speaking at the ground breaking ceremony of the renovation and remodelling the new National Council of Sports headquarters, the minister said that it was good that NCS has not waited for the government’s arm as they sought for ways of developing the facility.

“This is what we call sports development. We should do the little we can,” said Bakkabulindi at the function which will kick-start the construction that will involve the demolition of the structure and expanding it to be able to accommodate the entire workforce at the council.

“This is the face of Uganda sports and it shows that we are on the right track. As government, we have a full programme that is going to work on the modernisation of regional stadia,” said Bakkabulindi.

“We cannot develop sports unless we have infrastructure and by developing the headquarters shows that we have got a fresh image for sports development which will be spread to all other facilities,” added Bakkabulindi.

The government has already contracted two companies to redesign six regional stadiums that include Mbale Municipal stadium, Kyabazinga Stadium Bugembe, Kakyeka stadium in Mbarara, Recreation ground in Masaka, Pece Stadium in Gulu and Kabale grounds.

NCS offices are currently dilapidated but the renovation is set to change the face of the structure.

NCS general secretary Jasper Aligawesa said that the works have been made possible because of a bank loan that will have to be repaid using internally generated funds.

“We have not been able to renovate the building that was constructed in 1954 because we have not been getting enough funds from government until three years back when the subvention reached sh1.3bn. What we are doing is to give a face to Uganda sports,” said Aligawesa.
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