Former Uganda Cranes captain Andy Mwesigwa was left unpleased with the way the Cranes defenders more so the central defenders handled their role at the African Nations Championship (CHAN).
Although modern trends have seen most of the teams emphasizing building from the back, Mwesigwa says Mustafa Mujuzi and his colleagues overused the ball and forgot the primary role of a defender.
Mwesigwa reads from the school of thought that a defender’s primary role is to stop attacks from the opposition, and how they advance the team’s attacking play is occasional and not a necessity.
“I played defence for almost my entire career and principally we are not allowed to overuse the ball mostly when it comes to a central defender,” Mwesigwa explained to Football256.
“So tactically, I saw some unnecessary doings (from our central defenders), and since these boys are young and they used a lot of energy with the ball.”
“The primary duty of a defender is to defend so when you over use the ball, all the time you’re with the ball possessing and doing all that, you end up using a lot of energy.”
“When it comes to defending when they’re attacking you, you may find that you’ve lost all the energy,” Mwesigwa added.
“They were not reserving some energy for themselves for defending whereby for us defenders you need to have something like three touches on the ball, controlling, setting yourself and passing then you go back and organize that’s all.”
“But the way I saw the team playing, they were having too much possession in defence, to me that also cost us because they got tired that’s why you saw a team like Morocco penetrating through with ease,” the ex-Cranes defender said.
URA FC defender Paul Mbowa and Kyetume FC’s Mujuzi played at central defence against Rwanda and Togo.
Halid Lwaliwa who was injured in the opening two games returned for the Morocco game and partnered Mujuzi in defence.
Both Mbowa and Mujuzi errored at the tournament with the former scoring into his own net against Togo whereas the latter handled the ball in the area, granting a penalty to Morocco at the stroke of halftime with the Cranes nearly taking a halftime lead in their do or die encounter.
“I also think the team lacked experience somewhere in defence more so in central defence, a central defender is not supposed to use a lot of time and a lot of energy on the ball,” he said.
“He’s supposed to always be waiting, you pass, organize and wait for when your being attacked to see that you defend your goal because that’s your primary duty.”
“That’s an error that needs to be rectified because Uganda has previously been known for having a good defence, not conceding a lot of goals.”
“You know when you defend well you stand a lot of chances of winning the game, you get your chance score and win because you’ve not conceded,” Mwesigwa noted.
Uganda managed to score three goals at the tournament, but conceded a tournament-high seven goals in the group stages, conceding twice against Togo and then suffering a devastating blow against Morocco.
Despite not going past the group stage level, for now, five times in a row, this year’s tournament is regarded as the worst edition for the Cranes having conceded seven goals more than they’ve at all the other four involvements.