Farouk Miya’s strike against Comoros at a fairly filled Namboole stadium was enough to seal a spot for Uganda at the 2017 Nations Cup in and Gabon, a first appearance for Uganda Cranes since 1978.
The man who masterminded everything was 53-year-old Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojevic who had been appointed Cranes head coach in 2013. The Serbian wolf arrived midway the 2015 AFCON qualifiers and 2014 World Cup qualifiers.
Two home wins over Guinea and Ghana and a shocking home loss to Togo and later in Lome along with Guinea’s loss in Morocco compounded Micho’s charges to a third-place finish after six match days.
Known for his deep analytical approach to opponents, Micho didn’t give up and next came the 2017 AFCON qualifiers.
Uganda had struggled to win away losing all three away games in the 2015 campaign but that was not about to deter Micho who says the desire to make history pushed the team.
“The Team’s driving force was the desire to make history,” Micho told Football256 befroe adding.
“Where players’ patriotism garnished with determination along with our technical team who paid attention to deepest details, made the difference.”
“Plus, all patriotic Ugandans that supported the team were the defining driving force that took Uganda after 39 years to African Cup of Nations,” he added.
The Cranes started the 2017 qualifiers brightly, defeating Botswana and Comoros home and away respectively but picking up one point from a possible six against Burkina Faso seemed to paint a faint picture.
The Cranes ended the campaign on 13 points and advanced as only two of the second-best placed teams.
While Micho has since moved on going on to coach Orlando Pirates, Zamalek and now Zambia’s Chipolopolo, the Cranes have not looked back going on to make a second successive appearance at the 2019 Nations Cup.
They also reached the Round of 16 for the first time since 1978 losing to eventual finalists Senegal through a Sadio Mane strike.
This post was written by Peter Tabu and initially published by football256.com and reproduced under license.
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