Will the Csaba era Provide the Answers for Uganda Cranes?
Csaba (in the middle) with his two assistant coaches at Namboole.

Will the Csaba era Provide the Answers for Uganda Cranes?


"I'm optimistic that the team can do the job."

By Ramathan Kasozi
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First published: July 29, 2006


It was on the 10th July 2006 when the Federation of Uganda Football Association (FUFA), unveiled Laszlo Csaba to the nation as the man tasked to lift the Uganda Cranes from the 28-year-old limbo of failing to qualify for the African Cup of Nations finals.

The Hungarian steps in for Mohammad Abbas' would be successor Tomislav Sivic, who threw in the towel even before sitting on the Cranes bench.

This all depicts how hot the Uganda team's bench is. However, the new tactician isn't bothered, saying he is a man of challenges who has seen it all.

"I was born in time of insurgency. I have got enough experience so nothing can intimidate me," vows Csaba in an interview with Ultimate Media.

If there is anyone who has dominated the headlines in the past couple of weeks, the five+ feet tall elegant man should be.

Little wonder, Csaba is even overwhelmed the press coverage. His technical boss Asuman Lubowa, during the weekly FUFA press conference, begged the scribes to gear down their praises before he delivers. A lot of expectation has been written about from the man who is himself as optimistic about the Cranes' imminent success.

Csaba's key task is to mastermind the Cranes' campaign through the group 3 of the 2008 Ghana African cup of Nations qualifiers. The group is comprised of powerhouse Nigeria and the little known duo of Lesotho and Niger.

Son of Albert and Magda Laszlo, Csaba is married to Mariana Laszlo with two kids, Larisa and Patricia Laszlo. As a player, Csaba featured for Hungarian giant clubs, Fortuna Kocu and Haldes before a nasty knee injury at 27 that marked the end of his playing career. He went to Cologne Sports University in German, where he acquired a diploma in coaching. That was way back in 1996. On return to Hungary, the national under 18 coaching job was already waiting him before he was lured back by a Bundasliga side, Borrusia Moechegladbach as a youth head coach.

After a three-year stint in Germany, Csaba discovered that home was better as he returned back to take over as a manager of Hungarian record champions, Ferencavaros, which he took to higher heights, winning two league tittles in addition to spearheading the team through the preliminary rounds of the Champions League.

In 2004, Csaba was contracted by the Hungarian Football Association, to deputize German legend, Lother Matheus, the then team manager. The duo resigned the job early this year before Csaba landed the Cranes job early last month, which he welcomed with both hands.

The accomplished linguist, who speaks English, German, Hungarian, Spanish and some French, is aware of the acidic task ahead of him.


Csaba at a Cranes training session in Namboole stadium last week before the Cranes departed for a friendly tie with Rwanda on Wednesday.
Csaba at a Cranes training session in Namboole stadium last week before the Cranes departed for a friendly tie with Rwanda on Wednesday.


"This is my first time to work in Africa and I know it wont be easy for me but I always like challenges," reveals Csaba whose monthly salary is alleged to be between 5,000 to 6,000 USD in addition to an executive house and a car.

Despite having little knowledge on the Cranes players who trade their football from abroad, Csaba says, judging by the quality of the home based players he has been conducting for the last two weeks, he is convinced that the country has enough talent that only need polishing to give the big football nations a run for their money. Over 10 pillars of the Cranes team play their game from out side Uganda and Csaba has only watched their videos.

"I haven't seen the professionals yet, but judging by the local talent, I'm optimistic that the team can do the job," he says.

Among the notable figures include, skipper Ibrahim Ssekajja (Arsenal Argentina), Serbian based star left full back Nestroy Kizito, hit man Godfrey Massa, from Egypt, Isaac "Kanu" Mulyanga (Vietnam) and the South African Premier League celebrated quartet of David Obua, Timothy Batabaire, Denis Onyango and Posnet Omony.

Csaba, who trusts 3-5-2 and 4-4-2 formations, insists that teamwork and displine will be his key to the long journey to Ghana 2008.

Uganda Cranes last flew to the African Cup finals way back in 1978 hosted by Ghana. That year, the Cranes were eliminated at the semifinal stage. Being the same venue, can the hungry and thirsty Ugandan soccer fans hope for better results this time around? Csaba may be the man to provide answers to such questions. Many Ugandans will be hoping that this Csaba era brings back football-ing glory that has eluded the Pearl of Africa for 30 years.

By Ramathan Kasozi
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First published: July 29, 2006
To learn more about Ultimate Media Consult go to www.ultimatemediaconsult.com.

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.