Desabre yet to convince after barren with Taifa Stars

[/media-credit] Sebastien Desabre with his assistant coach Mathias Lule

The only people impressed by Cranes head coach Sebastien Desabre in Uganda so far are the ladies but the rest of us are still waiting.

When he was unveiled as the new Uganda Cranes coach, he promised to play sexy football and we are still waiting on his promise. During CHAN 2018, Cranes were largely tourists and didn’t look like they were working on something.

The Cranes were on top of the table after the first round of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers and in his first competitive home game, Desabre needed to lay down a marker for his tenure against a formidable Tanzania Taifa Stars side who also have a new coach.

However, Desabre playing at home, decides to start with two defensive midfielders one of whom (Khalid Aucho) is not attached to a club, meaning he has not played competitive football in a while. Dennis Iguma ran the channels he didn’t do anything Tadeo Lwanga couldn’t have done and Aucho was only visible in relays clearly he is off the mark in terms of game awareness.

Since Ochaya left KCCA he has never delivered an assist or been a threat down that left flank. He was guilty for missing the best chance the Cranes got in the first half choosing to go for goal instead of passing the ball for Farouk Miya who was open.

Hassan Wasswa has never looked confident as a centre back and even though he seems effective you worry a lot when he is beaten for pace, he gave away a freekick in a very dangerous area but Tanzania failed to capitalise.

This is where Desabre got his first test. His starting XI was devoid of match needed execution. While he is trying to keep faith with some of Micho’s XI, between then and now a lot time has passed. Aucho has no club, a choice has to be made between Ochaya and Walusimbi with the latter the preferred choice now at left back and Murshid Juuko needs a permanent partner.

Nsibambi was a favorite for Micho and Basena but didn’t get a kick a ball today with former teammate Patrick Kaddu getting the nod, imagine chasing a game and bringing on a debutant.

International football is brutal to managers because they have little time with players and results are immediate, there is no time for developing style of play. Micho has spent enough time on the continent to understand these things Uganda went to places like Ghana and got results he knew a result was more important than how well people enjoyed the result.

The maths, when it comes to qualification, is simple – win at home and pray somehow you can find something away from home. A draw for Tanzania is a good result as they know they can go all out at home. This result also keeps them in the group equation, meaning all four teams in the group are still in it.

The only mentions would be for Moses Waiswa who looked so much like a professional player. He spread the ball all over the pitch and ran into spaces he wont be at Vipers for long with such performances. Dennis Onyango showed why he is the best in Africa saving the Cranes on a couple of occasions. Farouk Miya and Emma Okwi were good upfront but had to toil due to lack of service and drifted a lot into wide areas to try and make something for themselves.

Desabre makes the job harder for himself having to find a win away from home to ensure that the cranes go back to AFCON. He however needs to get a grip of the side sooner rather than later. Gambling on whom should be playing will cost the side a place at AFCON and with the gap in African soccer closing up you don’t expect to easily pick points even from the likes of Lesotho.

I sometimes wonder how much Matia Lule is of help to him. When you are chasing a game it doesn’t make sense to withdraw attackers for attackers while you are holding on to two defensive midfield options.

I will not be suprised if FUFA chose to do away with Desabre even before the AFCON campaign ends. No hard feelings, it’s just business with FUFA desperate to get back in AFCON.


  • The current Cranes are too defensive. Again, no problem with it but the whole team should be able to generate goals and score them.

    You don’t even want youngsters on this team as they might pick up the low scoring disease.
    I remember Okwi used to score goals for fun with Hamis in the youth teams but they dried up when he joined the senior Cranes.

    The players should also stay in training for the whole international window. Look at European teams and top African teams organizing friendlies after their international matches.
    FUFA should keep the players together for as long as possible when they get together instead of disbanding after a game.

  • let him leave immediately cz he won’t get us results

  • Much as I applaud Desabre’s audacious attempt at re-designing the cranes’ playing philosophy, I feel he is playing it too safe with his team selection. It takes no rocket scientist to tell that the sleek passing style favoured by Desabre can not be successfully implemented using entirely the same playing staff that has grown accustomed to Micho’s pragmatic long-ball tactics. This was eloquently voiced by team captain Dennis Onyango, in the aftermath of Micho’s departure.

    If Desabre is to successfully implement his philosophy he must select players that suit the passing game-especially the crop of players at KCCA FC. Players like Timothy Awany, Mustafa Kiiza, Julius Poloto, Allan Okello and Saddam Juma, should form the spine of the new-look cranes team.

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