Uganda defender Simeon Masaba claims the Cranes will be under no pressure when they face Ghana’s Black Stars in next month's Africa Cup of Nations qualifier.
Uganda face Ghana in Kumasi on September 5 as the group stage of Morocco 2015 Orange Africa Cup of Nations qualification begins in earnest.
Masaba, in his early 30s, has never officially announced that he retired from international football but has not featured for Cranes since being dropped by then Uganda coach Bobby Williamson early 2013 as they prepared for the World Cup qualifier away to Liberia.
Having made his debut in 2003 against Rwanda, Masaba diligently served the national team for a decade.
But since a younger Dennis Guma replaced him, the clock has not turned back.
The calm URA defender has, nonetheless, continued to follow the national team closely; watching every game they have played at home.
And having been part of the Cranes that lost to Ghana 2-0 in the 2006 World Cup qualification, which is also their last competitive trip to Kumasi, Masaba is better qualified to talk about the upcoming September 5 encounter.
“We know what we want and where we are going,” he tells SuperSport.com, adding, “We need to start training already; we need to have those players whose leagues are off, and the local players who have been off season, in camp training already.
“We can’t gamble with a team that has that many good players, a team that has just come back from the World Cup. We need to be in camp early.”
Masaba adds: “But the pressure is on them. They are at home; they have a name to protect and must prove that they are stars.
“I can start here and name their players off head but I won’t be surprised if they named only our coach (Serbian Micho Sredojevic). We shall play under no pressure whatsoever.”
Asked about what went wrong on their last trip to Ghana, Masaba hinted at lack of maturity. “I think we didn’t stick to our game plan. We were supposed to keep it compact but we lost concentration and somehow opened up.
“We then conceded the first goal, a header and the next. But we stuck to the game plan in the second half and didn’t concede. While we shall need to score in Ghana, we shall need to be focused throughout the game.”