Uganda Cranes to axe AFCON flops for Stars friendly

Uganda cranes football team pose a photograph moments before their 2015 Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup match ...
(FILE)Uganda cranes football team pose a photograph moments before their 2015 Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup match against Burundi at the Hawassa International Stadium in Ethiopia on November 28, 2015. Uganda won 1-0. Photo/Stafford Ondego/

The Uganda Cranes will field a squad consisting mainly of youth from their development squad against the national team Harambee Stars during their upcoming friendly tie on March 23 in Nairobi.

Speaking in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia at the 39th Ordinary General Assembly of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) Cranes Head Coach Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojevic said over 80 percent of the squad that featured during last month’s Africa Cup of Nations in Gabon will miss the clash.

The Serb who is among the guests attending the event said he intends to replace the most of his stars that crashed out the AFCON 2017 group stages with a youthful side from the Cranes’ development side.

“We want to raise another team with a long term goal. A good number of first team players are in advanced stages of their careers, therefore we must look ahead,” the tactician told.

He maintained the move is not meant to underrate their Kenyan opponents, warning the home side to expect a tough game.

“I’m taking this match seriously and I know Kenya has very good players currently. I however have faith with the young generation of players we are raising and I expect them to give deliver.

“The idea is to have them ready for the 2018 CHAN, because it is a local-based squad,” he emphasised.

Speculations over Sredojevic’s future with the Cranes have escalated over the past month, with reports several clubs are keeping tabs on him.

Having taken Uganda to this year’s AFCON for the first time after almost 39 years, Micho has been linked with 2022 World Cup hosts Qatar, United Arab Emirates and Egyptian giants Zamalek among others.

Micho confirmed he has been approached by ‘some clubs and federations’, but remained non-committal on his next move.

“Every normal human being would be touched by people recoginizing his work. People have commended the work we have been doing with Uganda Cranes, which is a reward to every stakeholder, players, technical team, and FUFA.

“For now we are preparing for the friendly against Kenya and the 2018 CHAN qualifiers, the Cameroon 2019 AFCON qualifiers that start in June and the Russia World Cup 2018 qualifiers in September. Other things are secondary,” Micho charged.

Kenya battled Uganda to a barren stalemate in their last meeting in Kampala, in August 2016.


-Jacob Icia is reporting from Addis Ababa, Ethiopa.

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