Micho was head coach of the Uganda Cranes, breaking the 38 years jinx without qualifying to AFCON since 1978 Credit: © Kawowo Sports | AMINAH BABIRYE

Pre-CHAN Mini Tournament

Uganda vs Zambia 

Monday, 4th January 2021  6PM 

Stade Ahamdaou Ahidjo

Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojevic will for the first time face his former employers Uganda since leaving his role as head coach in 2017.

The Serbian Wolf etched his name into the history books of Ugandan football when he guided The Cranes back to Africa Cup of Nations in 2017, putting an end to a 39-year absence.

However, his departure came with mixed feelings and an outcry for FUFA to clear his outstanding arrears before he finally returned to Orlando Pirates where he had previously served.

The bitter divorce aside, Micho will forever cherish Uganda, a place where he started his African expedition with Sports Club Villa 20 years ago.

Currently the head coach of Zambia, Micho will face Uganda on Monday in Cameroon at the Pre-CHAN Mini Tournament.

Micho on duty at SC Villa in the early 2000s Credit: The New Vision

Ahead of the match, he talks fondly about his time in Uganda and believes the encounter will be a good check up for both teams.

“Uganda ,Ugandans and Ugandan football with Cranes lives actively in special suite of my heart. I am so happy that football in Uganda has moved 7 miles into the bright future. The game is check up for both Cranes and Chipolopolo and nothing else.” Micho told www.fufa.co.ug.

Micho on duty with Uganda Cranes during AFCON 2017 Credit: © Kawowo Sports | AMINAH BABIRYE

He faces a friend in Johnathan Mckinstry with whom he shares a lot in common. The two have coached the National teams of Rwanda and Uganda.
Micho says he has, “highest degree of respect for Johnathan McKinstry, his technical team and equally for the players led by veteran Tony Mawejje, It is perfect balance between maturity, seniority, experience and young upcoming players that have bright future ahead of them. It is emotional reunification for me with Uganda Cranes that i need to go over as professional and look at my team to get good performance and result while we both prepare for upcoming CHAN. Let football be the winner.”

His counterpart on the other hand shares similar sentiments and reminisces about their friendship but insists it will be full commitment on pitch.

Uganda Cranes head coach Johnathan McKinstry acknoledges fans after his first home game, a 2-0 win over Malawi

“I will come up against an old friend for both Uganda’s football and me personally. My relationship with Micho goes back while I was with Sierra Leone and he was coach for Rwanda,” states the Irishman.

“When we arrived here in Cameroon we exchanged New Year’s messages and X-mas Greetings. We have known each other for several years. I am looking forward to seeing him. But for the 90 minutes of the game we will be trying to do the best for our respective teams. After the match we can share chat of old times. We both have objectives for our teams.”

The last time the two coaches faced off was in 2015 with Mckinstry at the helm of the Amavubi Stars while Micho was iñ charge for the Uganda Cranes.

The encounter in Ethiopia was a final at the CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup that Uganda won thanks to Caesar Okhuti’s goal.

At the ongoing tournament in Cameroon, the two teams opened up with draws. Uganda rallied from behind to draw against hosts Cameroon while Zambia on two occasions squandered their lead in the three-all draw with Niger.

Mckinstry expects to ring changes from the team that started against Cameroon in order to make a proper assessment of the entire squad.

Uganda is in group B of the 2020 CHAN edition alongside defending Champions Morocco, neighbours Rwanda and Togo.

The tournament is expected to run between 16th January to 7th February 2021.

Joel Muyita

Joel Muyita is a senior staff writer at Kawowo Sports.

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