Ending a 180 minute barren spell takes top priority when Uganda national football team coach Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojevic leads his side into a double header of World Cup qualifiers against East African rivals Rwanda.
The Cranes, who have battled to two goalless draws in Group E, face Rwanda’s Amavubi Stars at Kigali’s Amahoro Stadium on Thursday, before hosting them at St Mary’s Stadium, Kitende on Sunday.
Now in his second spell with the Cranes, Micho remains a divisive figure in Ugandan football circles despite guiding the team to their first Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers in almost four decades five years ago.
The Serbia born former SC Villa, St George, Orlando Pirates and Zambia national team coach prefers a compact counter-attacking aporoach that doesn’t sit well with national football team fans.
Micho’s efforts to lead Uganda to an unlikely place at the Qatar 2022 World Cup finals has been complicated by the absence of several Cranes stalwarts.
The inspirational leadership of long serving skipper Denis Onyango has been missed in barren draws with Kenya and Mali. But Micho is also without deputy captain Farouk Miya and senior players Joseph Ocaya, Emmanuel Okwi, Nicholas Wadada and Kizito Luwaga. KCCA all rounder Denis Iguma will lead the team in their absence.
The two matches have gained must win status as the Cranes lie third in Group E behind leaders Mali and Kenya who square off in a winner takes all double header.
Qualifying action commences Wednesday with Morocco’s Atlas Lions hoping to wrest Group I leadership from Guinea Bissau in Marrakesh and Sudan hosting Guinea in Khartoum.
Elsewhere, Tanzania’s Taifa Stars defend Group J leadership when they confront Benin at the Benjamin Mkapa Stadium in Dar es Salaam on Thursday, before travelling for the reverse fixture in Cotonou on Sunday. 1974 World Cup finalists DR Congo – the first African country to feature at the global showpiece, are seeking their first maximum points of the campaign when they twice clash with Madagascar.
Regular World Cup finalists, Tunisia’s Carthage Eagles, host Mauritania on Thursday whereas African champions Algeria aim to defend a long unbeaten record in a winnable home and away fixture with Niger. Nigeria’s Super Eagles are meanwhile expected to pick up all six points against minnows Central African Republic.
-Sudan v Guinea,
-Morocco v Guinea Bissau
-Rwanda v Uganda
-Mali v Kenya
-Tunisia v Mauritania
-Liberia v Cape Verde
-DR Congo v Madagascar
-Tanzania v Benin
-Eq Guinea v Zambia
-Nigeria v Central African Republic
-Malawi v Ivory Coast
-Cameroon v Mozambique
-Angola v Gabon
-Algeria v Niger
Djibouti v Burkina Faso
Egypt v Libya