The clues were there, pretty much from the start, that the biggest battle for Sebastien Desabre as Uganda Cranes coach, would be to convince himself that he is the man for the job.
By replacing Serb Mulitin ‘Micho’ Sredojevic on December 28, the French man got his first ever national team job.
It was a dream come true if his interview with FUFA website on January 1, 2018 is anything to go by.
“At 40, I had a dream to coach a national team,” he said then. “I needed to take this step at some point and I think it’s a strong choice for me,” explained Desabre.
It is a great moment for me to take charge of a National team that has potential because in this case Uganda Cranes has a nice and promising project. I feel ready to start given my experience.
The well-travelled tactician whose last job before Uganda was in Egypt with Ismaily also couldn’t hide what he intended to bring to the Cranes – an offensive style of football.
“I have one Philosophy and One Methodology,” he stressed. “Personally I believe in the offensive style of play,” he revealed before guarding self.
But in football it is very important to remain compact and to have defensive discipline as you play your fancy football.
The revelations were cheered with smiles from football-loving Ugandans who always attacked Micho for his defensive and safety first approach to matches.
Yes, Micho won games and through the tactics, he took the Cranes to the 2017 AFCON — finals breaking a 39-year jinx.
CHAN DISPLAY EXCITING
Indeed, fans were treated to some fancy offensive football at the CHAN championship in Morocco despite failure to progress beyond group stages.
The Cranes were exciting, fancy, passed the ball at will and despite failure to win, they created goal-scoring chances through the offensive approach.
POST CHAN RESULTS AND APPROACH
After CHAN, Desabre, had the chance to assess foreign based players in March friendlies against Sao Tome & Principe and Malawi at home and he stressed this with the team he summoned.
Uganda won 3-1 against the lowly ranked Island nation before drawing goalless with the Flames of Malawi. Not impressive performances but almost all players bar a few were new to the coach.
Nearly the same squad was considered for the Niger camp where the Cranes have played against the hosts and Central African Republic and Niger
Besides Farouk Miya, Edrisa Lubega ‘Torres’ and Moses Opondo, the squad was similar to the one he used in March friendlies.
That explains same approach and tactics as well as style in both games.
PREACHED vs PRACTICED PHILOSOPHY
It has come to the attention of many Cranes followers that Desabre’s preached philosophy differs from the one he has practiced in all other games apart from CHAN.
Going by the previous four games, the French man’s style of play appears defensive and with same kind of players and game approach similar to his predecessor.
“I think Desabre isn’t walking the talk,” stressed John Vianney Nsimbe, The Observer chief football writer. “Looking at the kind of players he deploys and the approach, he has less or no difference with Micho. To me it’s a Micho team,” he adds.
Desabre however needs no roasting as he hinted at such approach in his first interview stating the style adjusts according to many factors.
Each coach actually has his style but may adjust accordingly depending on the situation or opponent. But this depends on the atmosphere of play, game, type of players, their level of skills, technical abilities among other things. All in all I like winning with style.
With the assertion and game approach so far, Desabre states the kind of players at disposal dictate the style of play.
But the biggest question is, do we have players that fit the philosophy and style he preaches? The answer is yes.
THE KIND OF PLAYERS
It’s good to note that players such as Allan Kateregga have been given opportunity and so has William Luwagga Kizito who made a return to the national team.
The coach has already watched and worked with Muzamiru Mutyaba, Moses Waiswa, Rahmat Senfuka, Abraham Ndugwa and Ibrahim Sadam Juma among other players who, without doubt, fit in the style of the football the French man preaches.
Fortunately, he has also watched the league religiously and knows that players like Nicholas Kasozi, Gift Ali, Albert Mugisa, Kokas Opejo, Godfrey Akol, Vianney Sekajugo, and Martin Kizza, youngsters Allan Okello, Lawrence Bukenya and Julius Poloto can have something to add.
Then Alex Kakuba, the only Ugandan who plies trade in one of the big European leagues
STATS SO FAR UNIMPRESSIVE
It’s not the right time to make judgement on a man who has used the first five months to know his players but again, his statistics don’t impress at all.
With only one win from nine matches so far, the French man’s winning percentage stands at 11%, has 5 losses accounting for 55% and the rest are stalemates.
UGANDA CRANES MATCHES UNDER DESABRE
2nd June 2018: Niger 2-1 Uganda (International Friendly)
30th May 2018: CAR 1-0 Uganda (International Friendly)
27th March 2018: Uganda 0-0 Malawi (International Friendly Match)
24th March 2018: Uganda 3-1 Sao Tome and Principe (International Friendly Match)
22nd January 2018: Uganda 0-0 Ivory Coast (CHAN 2018)
18th January 2018: Uganda 0-1 Namibia (CHAN 2018)
14th January 2018: Zambia 3-1 Uganda (CHAN 2018)
10th January 2018: Uganda 0-1 Congo (International Friendly Match)
6th January 2018: Uganda 1-1 Guinea (International Friendly Match)