2008 Ghana African Cup of Nations Qualifiers: Crucial Rehearsal
Csaba at Namboole training

2008 Ghana African Cup of Nations Qualifiers: Crucial Rehearsal

...as the Cranes battle Burkina Faso in the final buildup on Wednesday

By Ramathan Kasozi
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First published: August 26, 2006

With just a few weeks to the big mouth watering tie pitting the Uganda Cranes against Lesotho in the 2008 African Cup of Nations qualifiers, very few tacticians can risk assembling their arsenals against any opponent but Coach Laszlo Csaba who thinks the international friendly in Kampala against Burkina Faso on Wednesday 29th August is timely.

Though very little is known about Lesotho, Csaba thinks that Burkina Faso will give him a replica picture of his opponents while the later hopes it will smoothen their visit to Dar es Salaam against Uganda's fellow East African nemesis Taifa stars of Tanzania.

The match will also, in addition to acclimatizing the Uganda Cranes to the weekend make or break tie, help Uganda's new Hungarian tactician to have a glimpse on the foreign based players as the majority of them are expected to jet in Kampala starting this weekend, before he makes his starting line up against Lesotho.

 Timothy Batabaire
Timothy Batabaire training:
Csaba is upbeat over Cranes
New Vision
Ever since he arrived in Kampala, Csaba has only had his sight on only two professional players, defender Timothy Batabaire and goalie Posnet Omony in the game against Libya last week out of the more than 10 internationals that trade their game outside the country.

"The friendly will help me judge the professional players, before deciding on who to start on Saturday," reveals Csaba.

Some of the foreign-based players that are expected before the Wednesday friendly encounter include, Congolese naturalized Ugandan, Assan Bajope, Egyptian based hit man Geoffrey Massa, left full back Nestroy Kizito from Serbia, the quartet of custodians Posnet Omony and Denis Onyango, defender Timothy Batabaire, Mid fielder Dan Obote and golden boy David Obua all from the South African premier league. Cranes king pin skipper Ibrahim Ssekajja is expected to join the camp a day before the big game.

However, Csaba says that during the game he will be cautious to avoid possible injuries that might ruin his team.

"At least I'm now well conversant with local based players, I can't risk throwing all of them on the pitch with only few days to the big one," reasoned the tough disciplinarian.

Uganda and Burkina Faso were pooled together in the last African Cup Qualifiers where they both failed to impose their authority against other members like South Africa, Ghana, Democratic Republic of Congo and Cape Verde. The Stallions managed to clobber the Cranes 2-0 in Ouagadougou before a 2 all square in Kampala, though.

Uganda Cranes training
Uganda Cranes training.

This will be Csaba's fourth appearance on the Cranes bench, after a one all draw against Amavubi wasps of Rwanda in Kigali, Nyamirambo stadium, a barren draw against Botswana at Nakivubo Stadium in Kampala before a 3-1 sport kick victory and a decisive 3-2 loss to Libya in Tripoli mid last week.

The players that are summoned for the Saturday game include, goalkeepers, Hanington Kalyesubula of Police FC and the South African based pair of Denis Onyango and Posnet Omony.

Richard Malinga , Simeon Masaba, Samadu Mutumba, Nestory Kizito, Robert Kabanda, Timothy Batabaire, Wasswa Hassan, Andy Mwesigwa and Ibrahim Ssekajja, completes the defense list.

The mid fielders are Noah Kasule, Dan Obote, Daniel Wagaluka, Robert Kimuli, David Obua, Hakim Magumba, Assan Bajope, Vicent Kayizzi and Sc Villa's youngster Augustine Nsumba.

Hassan Mubiru, Geofrey Massa , Geofrey Sserunkuma, and Anthony Bongoole are the strikers Csaba will choose from.

Uganda is pooled along side the mighty Nigeria, Niger and Lesotho, where the winner of the group gets an automatic ticket to the 2008 Ghana finals.

Meanwhile, the Cranes duo of Police FC's strikers Mike Sserumagga and Ababukar Tabula from Rwanda giants APR, that had absonconded from the camp for professional trials in Sweden, have been suspended for six months by the Football governing body FUFA.

Sserumagga , abandoned the national team for trials with Helsinggorg of Sweden while Veteran left full back Tabula, declined to produce his passport ,on the eleventh hour before the Cranes departure to Libya mid last week for a friendly match.

By Ramathan Kasozi
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First published: August 26, 2006
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Ramathan Kasozi is a member of Ultimate Media Consult (U) Ltd. . A graduate Journalist, Kasozi has more than 5 years experience reporting on sports in Uganda for different print and broadcast media houses.