Monday, January 4, 2021
Uganda vs Zambia
Monday’s Pre-Chan mini-tournament match between Uganda and Zambia in Yaounde, Cameroon sees friends Johnny McKinstry and Micho Sredojevic come face to face for the first time since the latter left Cranes.
It also sees Micho meet some of the players he managed to help Uganda end a four-decade absence from the Africa Cup Of Nations finals when the Cranes appeared at the Gabon finals in 2017.
One such player is Tonny Mawejje, 34, who is captaining this Cranes side ahead of Chan finals from January 16.
Coaches McKinstry and Micho are not strangers to each other on the touchline.
They last faced off in the Cecafa Senior Challenge final in 2015 in Ethiopia, when Micho and Cranes beat McKinstry’s Rwanda to lift the title. McKinstry was 26 at the time.
“Going into this game,” said McKinstry ahead of their Monday friendly clash, “Will help us give every player a fair chance during the tournament but we will make changes and we expect our opponents to do the same.
“Tomorrow (Monday), I will come up against an old friend for both Uganda’s football and me personally.
“My relationship with Micho goes back I think with time while I was with Sierra Leone and he was coach for Rwanda.”
McKinstry, now 35, added: “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.”
McKinstry was speaking to fufa.co.ug. “After the match we can share chat of old times. We both have objectives for our teams”
Speaking about the meeting of friends, Micho was professional and respectful.
“Ugandans and Ugandan football with Cranes lives actively in special suite of my heart,” said the Serbian.
“I am so happy that football in Uganda has moved 7 miles into the bright future.
“Tomorrow is check up for both Cranes and Chipolopolo and nothing else.
“I have highest degree of respect for Jothanatn McKinstry, his technical team and equally for the players led by veteran Tonny 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.”
Uganda Cranes drew their first Pre-Chan match 1-1 with hosts Cameroon last Friday while Zambia settled for a 3-3 stalemate with Niger.
The Cranes, who are pooled in Group C alongside defending champions Morocco, Togo and Rwanda, open their finals campaign against the latter on January 18.
This Chan finals is a tournament exclusive to players that ply their trade domestically, meaning that the creme of the StarTimes Uganda Premier League?(SUPL) are the ones representing the country.