Reload: Cranes Fortify Fortress For Liberia Lone Stars


By Hawa Wesseh

Uganda is still hopeful it can win all of its three remaining three games and qualify for the 2014 Brazil Fifa World Cup ahead of its competitors, despite lying at the bottom of the log in group J.

The cranes lost 2-0 away at the Monrovia Sports Complex to the “non-fancied Liberian,” national team when Scotsman Bobby Williamson and his boys were outgunned in Painesville with goals coming from towering Malaysian based forward Patrick Wleh, 36th mins, and South Africa’s Mamelodi Sundowns hit man Anthony Laffor, 50th mins.

Williamson lost his job due to the defeat, and the Uganda Cranes reports say have gone on the international market to do some shopping as they fortify their castle to regroup for Liberia, Angola and Senegal.

Liberia’s indigenous coach Frank Jericho Nagbe and company could have their hands full if they fail to prepare adequately for the away clashes to the Cranes of Uganda and the palancas  Negras of Angola.

The Lone Stars host Senegal at home later this year. The Liberian FA is yet to declare any friendlies. Fellow West Africans Ghana have already announced the Black Stars will play the Harambee Stars of Kenya, given that the East Africans almost defeated the Nigeria Super Eagles away in Calabar under newly signed Algerian Coach Adel Amrouche on the same weekend that saw Liberia edged Uganda.

Nigeria would eventually equalized in the 90th min through Nnamdi Oduamadi who plays in Italy. But it was Kenya that counted itself unlucky when it went ahead first in the 37th min through Francis Kahata’s nifty free kick that had the Eagles scrambling for answers before the late equalizer.

The Black Stars turned down two quality friendlies from Mexico and Japan to play Kenya as they prepared to face Sudan. African football is growing and the Black Stars believe Kenya which has the same climate as Sudan will test their skills when they meet the Falcons of Jediane in June. reports say it was Ghana that asked for the test match.

A source says Coach Jericho Nagbe has asked the Liberian FA for a friendly, but the Bility FA is yet to respond.

Reports indicate Uganda is taking the upcoming match with Liberia seriously and are gunning for world renowned coaches, and the tacticians are lining up in droves to coach the Cranes.

But the man most considered to snatch the honor is the Serbian, Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojevic. His record has not been bad; the record shows he guided South African giants Orlando Pirates to the semi finals of the African Champions League in 2006.

“Micho” as he is affectionately called lost his job this week as Rwanda coach, after it was speculated that he was considering the Cranes coaching position. The dismissal was surprising and came “24 hours after the Federation of Rwanda Football Association General Secretary Michael Gasingwa told the press that the FA was set to launch an investigation into allegations that Micho was linked to Uganda Cranes vacant job,” said reports out of Uganda. The Serbian after being sacked said he was “going to take a rest as [he] scouted around for the next move.” That next move could well be Uganda, observers say.

The Ugandan government is said to be behind Federation Uganda Football Association [Fufa] latest efforts to bring in a top foreign manager of high quality.  Sports Minister Charles Bakkabulindi told the media in Kampala this week that the government would provide assistance if it was allowed to have

Lone Star Whips Uganda Cranes 2-0
Lone Stars readies to take on Cranes

say “in the recruitment process.”

The applications for the Vacant Cranes job has attracted former Brazilian tactician Carlos Dunga who lifted the Confederation Cup in 2009, veteran Italian coach Guisseppe Dossena and Algerian Vahid Halihodzic. Others include N. Kavazovic [Serbian], Tom Saintfiet [Belgian], Raoul Savoy [Spaniard], T. Obradovic [Croatian], Momcilo Medic [Serbian], Stewart Hall [English],  Vahid Halilhodzic [Bosnian], and the ever gifted Sampson Siasia [Nigerian].

Uganda has so far shunned African coaches including its own indigenous coaches that are interested in the plum job. But then, said a sports writer “they will have to remember that the coach that outplayed Scotsman Bobby Williamson in Monrovia was a local coach recruited by George Weah.”

Also interested are Javier Clemente [Spaniard], who coached Spain, Cameroon, Serbia and Atletico Madrid. Then there is Denis Lavagne of France and D.Fazackerley of England. The ever successful Frenchman Herve Renard is also said to be interested, but sources in Kampala said he is too expensive.

However reports say Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojevic is a leading candidate. Ugandan sports writers considered him a high quality manager, who could come with less price tag. He is also said to know Uganda football culture well having coached there.

Reports say he spent two-and-a-half years at SC Villa, a Ugandan top flight “between 2002 and 2004 winning two league titles, one Uganda Cup and a Cecafa Club championship. So popular is Micho that fans nicknamed him Serunjogi. What made him special was his tactical awareness as well as the ability to transform youngsters into big-game players and willingness to be involved right from the grassroots level,” reports the Observer.

While Interim Head Coach Frank Jericho Nagbe and Deputy Thomas Kojo have shown promise in their first game together—that they can give a good knockout punch on the playing pitch when given the opportunity, failing to prepare for the pending Fifa World Cup duels could well be their own undoing, because “the Lone Stars are poor travelers,” says Liberian football analyst Wleh Bedell.

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