Midfielder Muzamiru Mutyaba dribbles the ball Credit: CAF Media
[/media-credit] Midfielder Muzamiru Mutyaba (R) is one of the players Desabre relied on a the 2018 CHAN Finals in Moroco Credit: CAF Media

‘Going back to the drawing board’ is a popular declaration every after a failed football campaign in Uganda. Actually, it’s a statement that dates back to the late 90s and early 2000s.

Those older than me have probably heard for a much longer time and are wondering if the statement makes sense anymore.

All football campaigns in Ugandan especially those to do with the national team have been characterised and filled with a number of near misses, the Africa Cup of Nations in particular.

The 2018 African Nations Championship (CHAN) is another unsuccessful campaign in the eyes of many and the ‘drawing board’ will be dusted again to forge a way forward.

[/media-credit] Milton Karisa (R) has been the source of Cranes’ creativity, he assisted the equalizer against Zambia Credit: CAF Media

After Cranes’ elimination from CHAN, head coach Sebastien Desabre was quoted by the FUFA in a tweet;

Now finding that solution is not entirely Desabre’s duty alone, but the entire football community in Uganda. Especially the local football coaches from schools, the so-called academies, the lower division leagues and the top tier league. I guess am not the first to say this and surely not the last.

The 2018 CHAN finals exposed Desabre as a coach who loves attacking football. He also wants players to express themselves, play with confidence and win matches convincingly, contrary to how the game is taught in Uganda.

[/media-credit] L-R: Fred Kajoba (Goalkeeping coach), Mathias Lule (Assistant coach) and Louis Serge Sebastien Desabre Credit: FUFA Media

At Chan, Desabre played with one defensive midfielder in Tadeo Lwanga, surrounded by Sadam Juma, Muzamir Mutyaba, Allan Kyambadde, and Milton Karissa. The foursome was playing behind the lone striker, Derrick Nsibambi.

Not forgetting that fullbacks Isaac Muleme and Nicholas Wadada’s secondary duty was to add up numbers upfront when the team had possession.

But Uganda lacked the cutting edge in front of goal and the lapses in concentration against Zambia and Namibia meant the Cranes conceded four in two matches.

Concentration, proper game reading, paying attention to detail, improving positional sense among others are things that have greatly exposed Ugandan players and will require immediate attention if Desabre’s game approach is to be a success.

[/media-credit] Ibrahim Sadam Juma was the other midfielder the Cranes expected to rely on for creativity Credit: CAF Media

Uganda is gifted by nature and Desabre won’t fail to find players who fit in his style, which also gives an edge to players who play for teams that are coached by tacticians with the same philosophy as Desabre.

The other comment Desabre made was an eye opener that maybe he had little input in the players he had in Morocco.

There is no doubt that there is a lot of unpolished potential in the local league, Desabre will monitor and choose those he believes can make the grades. The local coaches have a task to change their methodologies, teach players how to play football and not only train teams to get results.

[/media-credit] Action between Uganda Cranes (white) and Zambia at the 2018 CHAN championship Credit: CAF Media

Mike Mutebi and Morley Byekwaso have proved that you can entertain the fans and get results at the same time, Abdullah Mubiru at Police is doing something similar to what Desabre expects from local coaches.

That’s what Livingstone Mbabazi and Asaph Mwebaze are also doing at Onduparaka and Maroons respectively, and it can surely be done across the board for the sake of building an exciting successful national team.

By the way, this can only work when we pay attention to where it all starts, the grassroots, and everything at the top will fall in place automatically. But that won’t happen if players are not taught the basics of the game at the grassroots level.

Desabre was again quoted saying; “I have a lot of work to do with the team. My work has started. You will notice changes.” Personally, I can’t wait to see the changes but he will need everyone’s support if he is to walk the talk. Remember it’s won’t be his accomplishment alone to enjoy but ours as a country.

Senior staff writer at Kawowo Sports mainly covering volleyball, football and badminton

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1 Comment

  1. There is so much similarity between Guardiola’s approach at Manchester City and Desabres appraoch now. We can only wait.
    But we should also not forget that last years champions KCCA had a majority of their best players (those that played at the continent) leaving the club. This affected the quality of the national team. For example, whereas Zambia had a player like Lazarous Kambole, Uganda didn’t have an equally clinical player like Sserunkuma. In terms of technical quality, Cranes opponents Zambia and Namibia had better players.

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