From the time he landed in Uganda, Cranes coach Sebastien Desabre never shied away from insisting that he has a particular style and is here to enforce it.
And the big debate was if he would be able to enforce his free flowing style of football, entertain the fans but also win football matches.
I thought he was going to succeed because Uganda is blessed with such players to fit into this philosophy – an attacking brand of football.
And Desabre didn’t disappoint at the 2018 African Championship of Nations (CHAN) in Morocco.
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Despite losing two games and drawing the other, Desabre assembled an attack-minded team in all three games.
Milton Karisa and Allan Kyambadde manned the wings, Muzamir Mutyaba, Sadam Juma marshalled the midfield behind Derrick Nsibambi who led the line. Taddeo Lwanga protected the back four.
Fullbacks Isaac Muleme and Nicholas Wadada patrolled the wings. They were also encouraged to fly as the Cranes pushed forward.
Only a single goal was scored against Zambia, but chances were created in all the three games.
After that, it was obvious Desabre’s philosophy can work in a place like Uganda if the Cranes would learn how to find the back of the net.
Ahead of the international friendlies against Sao Tome and Malawi, Desabre summoned a Cranes’ team dominated by foreign-based players.
He needed to have a look at them since he had worked with most of the local-based players.
But Desabre kept on insisting that he wants to instill his philosophy, the Cranes must play entertaining football for the fans but also play to win.
The Cranes won 3-1 against Sao Tome on Saturday in a game they kept cagey, lacked transition going forward and barely dominated possession.
Actually many thought Desabre just did a copy and paste of his predecessor Micho Sredejovic who was time and again criticised for his defensive approach.
Desabre started with two left backs (Joseph Ochaya and Godfrey Walusimbi) three centre backs (Bevis Mugabi, Hassan Wasswa, Murushid Juuko) and Geoffrey Kizito as the defensive midfielder and right back Nicholas Wadada.
Only Milton Karisa, Kizito Luwagga and Emma Okwi were the three to push the team forward.
It was obvious Desabre wanted to win his first game the first time he was playing in front of the home fans.
Actually sources revealed that Desabre told his players it wasn’t a friendly but a serious game that they needed to win.
The pressure and anxiety to impress, the new coach was also visible on the pitch as the Frenchman sat back, watched on as he took time off to study each player.
One fact you can’t take away from the defensive Cranes though, they created numerous chances.
Emmanuel Okwi was the most wasteful, on a good day he would have left with three. Karisa with one and maybe Yunus Sentamu with a brace, but the side was so wasteful in front of goal.
It was obvious this is not how Desabre wanted his team to play but he didn’t have to mortgage his identity and philosophy all in the name of winning an international friendly match.