Uganda Cranes interim Coach Abdallah Mubiru has hinted on the significance of the remaining two AFCON qualifiers; at home against Burkina Faso and away to Malawi.
The Cranes are slated to host Burkina Faso next Wednesday at Kitende before travelling to Malawi the following weekend.
Mubiru who took over from Johnathan McKinstry spoke to fufa.co.ug at FUFA House.
Question: There are two important crucial games for Uganda Cranes against Burkina Faso (at home) and Malawi (away). How are the preparations going on?
Abdallah Mubiru: The preparations started one and a half weeks ago as we have been engaged in private talks with each of the summoned players to help with the psychology. On Thursday, 18th March 2021, the players available (those who play in the StarTimes Uganda Premier League) and some foreign based players will gather together. There will be technical sessions with on field preparations on Saturday and Sunday before the whole group converges on Monday, 22nd March 2021 to embark on the technical approach of the game.
Question: The home game against Burkina Faso is key in the qualification campaign with the second one coming up away to Malawi. How crucial are these two matches?
Abdallah Mubiru: Both matches (at home against Burkina Faso and away to Malawi) are very important for the country, team, players and us the technical team. All these two matches are equally important. Whereas we need to seal the AFCON slot at home, the most crucial game will be against Malawi. Under all circumstances, the away game will be key. We need to get results from both games. I know, it will not be an easy game against Burkina Faso but we have the potential to get the positive results. The winning spirit of playing at home needs to be back. This was not visible in the last game played against South Sudan.
Question: How important is it to seal qualification at home?
Abdallah Mubiru: Like I have already said, winning at home remains very pertinent and important. Winning against Burkina Faso at home will give us the confidence. This will motivate the team heading into the away contest against Malawi.
Question: There are a couple of returning players on the team who had spent some time away? How fast will these players gel with the rest?
Abdallah Mubiru: Players like Murushid Juuko, Yunus Ssentamu, Abdul Lumala, Mathias Kigonya, Daniel Isiagi and others are back in the National team set up after some period away. They have been part of the National team and happy to be back in the set up. This is good news to the players. Everyone knows the abilities of these players. The entire Uganda Cranes group has a special bond and has always had the spirit to work together.
Question: Midfielder Khalid Aucho was sent off in the last game against South Sudan in Nairobi. How is the technical team preparing to fill the void?
Abdallah Mubiru: It is very sad that midfielder Khalid Aucho will not play against Burkina Faso because of suspension. He is a good player for the team and we shall miss him. We have able replacements like Moses Waiswa, Tadeo Lwanga and others.
Question: How would you talk about the team’s transition process at this special timing?
Abdallah Mubiru: This is a very crucial moment for us in terms of qualification again to the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) tournament.
However it is a very sensitive time for management to keep that spirit of qualification. About the transition, that is how life goes. You reach a certain moment when you come and have to leave. This happens in football time over and again
Question: FUFA entrusted the local coaches for these two crucial TOTAL AFCON qualifiers. How easy will it be a task for you?
Abdallah Mubiru: We have the confidence of delivering at this stage. There is a general perception in Ugandans doubting their own. We have strengths and limitations. People have to judge us by the strengths and not the limitations. It is not about myself, Charles Mbabazi and Fred Kajoba, but it will be a case of serving the country diligently and protecting the job. We are not the best coaches on the land but it is an honour that we were picked to present the local legion. We shall do all the preparations but the results belong to the mercy of God.
By Kisamba Hassan