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Ugandan coaches react to Cranes’ CHAN performance

By Football256 Team
Cranes defender Aziz Kayondo vies for the ball against Rwanda during their CHAN 2020 group B clash | Courtesy photo

Uganda’s poor performance at the African Nations Championship (CHAN) continued when they finished bottom of Group C with just one point at the 2020 edition in Cameroon.

The East African giants kicked off the tournament with a goalless draw against Rwanda, lost 2-1 to Togo before being dismantled 5-2 by Morocco in the last game of the group stage on Tuesday.

Despite being the fifth consecutive time to play at the tournament, this edition was Uganda’s worst performance at CHAN as they conceded seven goals against the three that was scored.

As many football fans try to find solutions to what was initially thought to be their best chance to break history, Ugandan coaches have weighed on what might have gone wrong for the Cranes in Cameroon.

Vipers SC head coach Fred Kajoba who was the goalkeeping coach of the team before he was suspended after breaking camp rules by attending Christmas prayers, opines that the poor performance came as a result of poor preparation for the tournament. 

“We have to sit down as a country to look for the problem and then get possible solutions,” Kajoba told Football256 before adding; “We need to look into our league and see whether everything is moving well.”

“According to my experience, more serious countries organize symposiums to realize where they might have gone wrong after every tournament to find possible solutions.”

“Bodies like FIFA, CAF always organize the symposiums to find out what went well or didn’t go to plan and they try to improve here and there,” he stated.

Kajoba added: “But for Uganda’s case when we came back from Sudan in 2011, we just sat back and waited for the 2014 edition.”

“When we came back from South Africa, we just waited for the 2016 edition in Rwanda without any clear hindsight into the previous tournament.”

“I urge FUFA to hold a symposium with various stakeholders to find out why Uganda has failed to make it to the knockout stage on five different occasions.”

“They should consult previous coaches like Micho (Milutin Sredojevic), (Sebastien) Desabre and ask them what went wrong during their time with the Cranes at CHAN.”

“If FUFA can do this, we can improve on our performance in the next CHAN edition,” he continued.

On poor defending which saw Cranes concede five goals against Morocco, the former Cranes goalkeeping coach attributed it to poor preparation and communication between goalkeeper and defenders.

“The problem was poor communication. The goalkeeper and his defender were so quiet which was a sign that they didn’t lay out plans for the game.”

“The more the goalkeeper talks to his defenders, the fewer the chances of conceding goals. Whenever a goalkeeper fails to talk to his defenders, the more chances of conceding goals,” Kajoba says.

Meanwhile, former Maroons FC head coach Asaph Mwebaze who believes that Uganda got an easy group which they could easily navigate past attributed the poor performance to the poorness of Uganda Premier League.

“Uganda should have come out of the group that had Rwanda, Togo and Morocco but unfortunately we couldn’t,” Mwebaze said.

“If you have a poor league in your country where for example you don’t follow the football calendar, you can’t expect a national team to perform well at tournaments like CHAN.”

“Uganda Premier League is full of stops every now and then which hinders our players’ development. Teams that perform well at CHAN are the teams which have very well-organized leagues in their countries,” he further noted.

Like many Ugandans, Mwebaze also posed a big question mark on Johnathan McKinstry’s tactics saying; “The head coach always determines how the team is set up right from goalkeeper to the strikers.”

“However, it is evident that McKinstry didn’t set up well compared to the previous coaches,” he explained, adding; “Even during the times when Uganda looked very poor, it wasn’t battered like Morocco did which goes back to the head coach.”

“The selection of the players who were taken to the tournament also has question marks, take an example of (Mustafa) Mujuzi. I think that Mujuzi was a misfit in that team,” he further noted.

It should be noted that players like Steven Mukwala were surprisingly omitted from the final squad which left many wondering why the technical team made the selection.  

Uganda will now return home and shift focus to the upcoming African Cup of Nations and World Cup qualifiers.

Uganda is second in group B, and need at least four points in their remaining two games to seal qualification for the 2021 AFCON edition.

They host Burkina Faso next before travelling to Malawi for their final qualifier during the international match window between March 22 and March 30.

In the World Cup qualifiers, Uganda is in Group E along with Mali, Kenya and Rwanda. The games will kick off in June 2021.

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