Anything less than a Cranes win over Ghana on Saturday will all but end Ugandaâ€™s hopes of qualification to the 2015 Nations but this Ghanaian side can be clueless if the 1-1 draw between the two sides in Kumasi is anything to go by, writesÂ John Vianney Nsimbe.
Immediately after Cranes 3-0 win over Ethiopia on Sunday at Namboole stadium in an international friendly match, news started trickling in about how Ghana will be without Asamoah Gyan, Kwadwo Asamoah and Jordan Ayew. That has triggered excitement in some quarters of Cranes fans. But not Cranes coach Milutin â€˜Michoâ€™ Sredojevic.
In fact, following the weekend result, his main focus isnâ€™t much on the score, however encouraging it was, but on the teamâ€™s shortcomings showcased against Ethiopia.
â€œI canâ€™t say that because we beat Ethiopia, itâ€™s a given that we are going to beat Ghana. The two are different games and the two teams have distinct football philosophies. We have to keep our guard up,â€ Micho exclaimed.
It should be noted that Micho was particularly furious about the way his charges lost concentration and focus during moments in the game against Ethiopia. There were moments when he was seen at the touchline remonstrating at the poor decision-making of some of his players.
While to many, Micho wasnâ€™t expected to be so demanding on his players since this was a friendly, the Serbian tactician didnâ€™t have any of that. He told The Observer that he and his players were in a very dicey situation.
â€œAfter just one lapse in concentration against Togo home and away, we lost 1-0 in each game. Now, I expect the players to have realized that and I have emphasized it in training that we never repeat it. It isnâ€™t important that we even dwell on who Ghana is going to miss or not.â€
â€œGhana has so many good players that can replace the injured ones in case they are there. But most importantly, we should concentrate on how we can improve and do well.â€
Micho reasoned that in international football, just one slip can cost you the game, and therefore, the players canâ€™t go into the Ghana game without the utmost of concentration from the first to the last whistle. That said, Micho was delighted by the efficiency of his forwards and they will need to be as inspired and sharp against Ghana if Cranes is to stand a chance of winning.
Facing a team that had nine of its first eleven was a good test, Micho noted. He continued that he liked the reaction of his players in pressing the ball each time they had lost it.
Such an approach will be crucial against a strong side as Ghana that in terms of quality put Uganda in the shade and already have the added advantage of having eight points atop the table while Uganda is stuck on four points, with so much of the odds stuck against them.
Cranes has a lot of pressure on them now that they have been in steady decline following the double-header losses to Togo. But Micho said that they need to forget about what happened against Togo and apply themselves with resolve like their lives depend on the two coming ties and nothing else despite being non-fancied.