South Africa Clash: History is Against the Kobs
Csaba remains optimistic.
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First published: February 4, 2007
The history of clashes between Ugandan and South African football teams is quite pitchy, with just a few sprinklings here and there. But if the results of these matches are anything to go by, then Uganda's U-23 national side, the Kobs, is dead and buried when they rub shoulders with their counterparts the Amaglug-glug of South Africa on February 7th 2007 in the 1st leg of the 2008 China Olympic Games qualifiers. However, the Ugandan National Head Tactician Laszlo Csaba seems not be to a believer of the saying that "history always repeat itself" as he vows to crush the Amaglug-glug at their own back yard.
Ultimate Media's Ramathan Kasozi goes to the archives to look at the records between the two nations as he previews the mouthwatering tie.
In 1999, Johannesburg All Africa Games, the Kobs that represents one of the finest unit Uganda has ever erected, tested the wrath of the Amaglug-glug as they went down 2-0 in the third place play offs of the event won by Cameroon.
It was more less the same when KCC encountered a Steven Pieneer inspired Ajax Cape Town in the 2004 CAF Cup in a match that the Ugandans would at least appear on the score sheet twice-Said Abed and athletic Moses Bantu being the key culprits. In the return leg in Kampala at Namboole stadium, Congolese born Abed Said prod the ball home for the 'Kasasiro boys' but wasn't enough to liberate Uganda as the game ended 1-1 meaning that the 'Cape Towners' progressed on a 3-1 aggregate.
In the 2006 Egypt African Cup of Nations qualifiers, Uganda's senior side the Cranes were pooled along side the Bafana Bafana and lost all the two ties. In the 1st leg at a home tuff of Namboole Ultra Modern Stadium that was full to capacity, Ben McCarthy's second half penalty was enough to leave the crazy Ugandan soccer fraternity in tears before a 2-1 victory in the 2nd leg that erased any of Uganda's chance of qualification.
All said, Csaba is less concerned with records as he is optimistic that it is time to put that history to an end and for the South Africans to pay for all the damages as he promises to tame them on their home soil. With the contrasting trends of the game in the two countries, only dismiss the Hungarian's words on your own peril. As the Ugandan game seem to be in recovery discourse, their counterparts seem to be experiencing one of their worst in history. Their failure to even go past the group stages of the African Cup of Nations in their last two previous campaigns is enough to prove my argument.
The local football governing body FUFA in its effort to leave no stone unturned has been forced even to suspend Super League matches to enable the Kobs to prepare for their crucial away game without any disturbance.
"I am not a believer in history. We are traveling to Johannesburg not on a tour but on a mission. I am optimistic we shall come back victorious. My only worry is the officiation," reveals the Hungarian.
The inclusion of over five members of the senior national team doesn't only convince Csaba but even the whole soccer fraternity that it's the real time to pay back the South Africans in the same currency.
Egyptian based assassin Geoffrey Massa, SC Villa's wonder kid Augustine Nsumba, workhorse Anthony Bongole and left full back Lawrence Ssegawa are some of Csaba's secret arsenals to do the job come this coming weekend.
However, it's the heart breaking news in Johannesburg that Dennis Onyango will be the one standing in-between the two posts of the Kobs, that has made the South Africans accept that a big mountain to climb awaits them. The Former SC Villa inspirational custodian is among the quartet of Ugandans plying their trade in the Republic of South Africa with Super Sport United and is one of the most feared goalies in the South African Premier League. Some of the unbelievable elements in his CV include his inspiration of the Villa to a CECAFA Club title in 2005 in Mwanza Tanzania without conceding a goal. In 2005 City Tyres Super League he only picked a ball from his net after more than 900 minutes. Book makers have it that the current convincing performances of Super Sport United is largely attributed to this towering intimidating figure.
Onyango is expected to be shielded by a four man rearguard spear headed by Simba SC's hard tackling centre back Sam Walulya, Villa's attack minded Yusufu Juuko who has just graduated from the national U-20 side and the experienced full back Lawrence Ssegawa.
Conflict of interest arises in the middle of the pack, where most of the likely candidates Manco Kawesa, in-form Patrick Ochan and Dan Wagaluka, come from URA SC yet on the same weekend; the tax collectors will be battling with Cameroonian giants Cotton Sport in the 2nd leg of the MTN African Club Champions League first round. The Ugandan champions lost to the Cameroonians 3-0 in the first leg on January 28.
Should they prefer club duty to national assignment, Csaba and Jackson Mayanja, will have no option but to assign Bunamwaya's left fleeted Ronald Muganga and his former club mate Augustine Nsumba(both graduated from Villa's nursery) to command the midfield.
The likely striking partnership of the former Police FC and El-masry forward Geoffrey Massa and KCC FC's Anthony Bongoole leaves anyone to think that at least the Kobs are traveling to Johannesburg with a goal in their locker.
It is not easy to predict whether history will repeat itself or not, but after the 90 minutes of the game we will see whether Csaba needs to eat his words.
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First published: February 4, 2007
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.