FOOTBALL–New Cranes tacticians Moses Basena and Fred Kajoba conducted their first training session Wednesday at Mandela National Stadium Namboole in high spirit but there was no hiding tinge of their soft spots when the name of their former head coach came up.
Basena played for a relaxed man with determination during the drills but was quick to point out after taking the players through their paces that it felt kind of strange without Micho.
“We all miss Micho but we have to move forward because we all knew that one day he will be gone and someone else would have to take charge ” said Basena.
Basena and Kajoba were Miluton ‘Micho’ Sredojevic’s assistants during the Serbian’s tenure that ended last week.
Fufa appointed the two coaches in interim role to oversee Cranes preps for Chan qualifier against Rwanda and World Cup qualifier against Egypt.
Uganda plays hosts bitter rivals Rwanda next week before a return leg in Kigali six days later. Basena and Kajoba will then be expected to step up their tactical nous with the more senior team than the crop of home-based players that Chan caters for when they start preps for Russia 2018 World Cup qualifier against Egypt due August 31 at Namboole and September 5 at Port Alexandria.
At Namboole on Wednesday, only 13 of the 25 players summoned turned up with the rest excusing them selves due to different commitments.
Among those absent were Vipers players, including Cranes vice captain Nicolas Wadada were in Mbarara for a pre-season game against newly-promoted Uganda Premier League side Mbarara City.
Asked about the surprise inclusion of Vipers’ teenager Frank Tumwesigye, Basena said: “Frank is a kid with a lot of potential that should be exploited immediately and if you ask me if he was rushed, I will tell you ‘no’ a million times.”
“We have two very talented teenagers in Frank and Allan Okello of KCCA but we could not call Allan because of his education commitments.”
KCCA defender Isaac Muleme and Onduparaka duo of Muhammad Shaban and Rashid Toha were also absent along with Kirinya JSS custodian Tom Ikara, who also had club engagements.
Basena explained the absenteeism of each and every player.
“Of course, we missed every player who could not turn up but we will have to adjust because even tomorrow Savio (Kabugo) has been excused due to clan engagements. We can’t do much at the moment but its also a bonus because they get match fitness in the games they take part in with their clubs,” Basena said.
Present at Wednesday’s training session was Nelson Ssenkatuka, who had not appeared on the list that was published by Fufa but Basena clarified that it was a mistake that was resolved.
Hassan Wasswa and Khalid Aucho were also present in training giving the local players much needed company.