Uganda Cranes will play South Africa on 10th June in an international friendly match. Head coach Abdallah Mubiru named a 34 man Squad for duty and will enter camp this Sunday at Cranes Paradise Hotel-Kisaasi. FUFA Media talked to Mubiru about his selection, choice for new Captain, importance of the match and the local based players who missed out.
Q1 FUFA Website: It is a new chapter for Uganda Cranes that has come with a New Captain? What qualities did you look at before naming Emma Okwi as the team’s new leader? Who are his assistants?
Uganda Cranes CoachAbdallah Mubiru : We appointed him as the captain of Uganda Cranes based on experience, discipline and a role model. Okwi is committed and a winner always. He settles for nothing but a win. He will always try to do anything possible to make sure the team wins. He is also down to earth and relates very well with the young and senior players. We are yet to announce the assistants which will be a committee of three to four captains with the head captain who will handle some issues. As head coach I can always hand bigger issues.
Q2 FUFA Website: How easy can it be for any coach with the transition period from failing to qualify for AFCON and then preparing a new team?
Uganda Cranes Coach Abdallah Mubiru It is not easy to come in and replace someone who was successful. The transition is not going to be easy because the previous team beat their target which was qualifying for AFCON which they did on two occasions making them successful in that aspect. It is not easy to replace a player like Denis Onyango in a team. However players come and go like Paul Hasule, Jimmy Kirunda, Phillip Omondi (all RIP), Jackson Mayanja, Sam Simbwa and the list is endless but still the team continued. We are not only looking towards replacing Denis Onyango because I think that is not a small task but now. We are trying to create a new hunger in the team not only qualifying for AFCON but winning it and qualifying for the World Cup. We are trying to create a new image in the team which is achievable. However we can’t achieve that alone. Everyone attached to the team must be committed to that including the fans.
Q3 FUFA Website: The squad has the blend of youth and experience? Does this mean we are in the rebuilding process of the Uganda Cranes?
Uganda Cranes Coach Abdallah Mubiru : Some senior players retired from the team and had to be replaced with youth, most of whom represented the country at AFCON U-20 in Mauritania. We are not only building a team but creating a new task putting in mind the success the country achieved during the AFCON U-20 where the boys went up to the final. We cannot take that for granted. We can build from that success we achieved for better results, that is our target.
Q4 FUFA Website: What are your targets with this team named for the intentional friendly match with South Africa?
Uganda Cranes Coach Abdallah Mubiru : It is a foundation stage of building; the target is seeing that players are confident and express themselves. That’s our target to achieve out of the South African game. We are trying to test our confidence, have a team that can express themselves very well when playing the game. We are looking towards playing the game in all its four stages that is the defensive transition and attacking transition.
Q5 FUFA Website: There are loud uproars from the fans who believe that some players who are shining in the league have been left out? Could you provide some light on your decisions?
Uganda Cranes Coach Abdallah Mubiru: Yes, there are so many fans who feel that some players were neglected but that is their feeling. Everyone has a choice. It is not true that everyone on form will be guaranteed to play for the National team. I have always tried to explain about the National team-we assemble players according to what the coaches think should look like. So we try to get the players who will bring out that picture. We have so many good players who will get a chance when the time comes but at the moment, we selected those we feel we are more comfortable to work with and we shall be assessing their performance when need be. We shall think about other players and those left out in future. I call upon the fans to respect our decisions as we also respect theirs.