Cranes coach Micho Sredojevic has a tough balancing act to do when Uganda face Tanzania in the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.

The Cranes play the Taifa Stars this Friday in the Egyptian city of Ismailia before completing a double header four days later in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, with both teams desperate for points.

Micho will want to go all guns blazing, but at the same time will be aware of the dangers the Tanzanians – led by talisman Mbwana Samata – pose.

But one encouraging factor is that he has good options to hurt the Tanzanians.

With two strikers in Fahad Bayo and Steven Mukwala, who are having good seasons at their respective clubs in Czech Republic and Ghana, Micho will need good creativity to unlock the Tanzanians and release any of the said forwards.

And the StarTimes Uganda Premier League has produced quite a number of those options with KCCA and SC Villa’s Allan Okello and Travis Mutyaba – both lethal with their left feet in the 10 role – all in the running for game time.

Okello is the more senior of the two, but fellow youngster Mutyaba is definitely a go-to option off the bench when Micho needs a sign.

Mutyaba, 17, showed glimpses of his eye-catching abilities at the recently concluded AFCON U20 and in January’s Africa Nations Championships (CHAN).

He rates his performance at the CHAN his biggest achievement and will hope his rise continues with him now fully on coach Micho’s books.

“It was a pleasure and joy to be among the participants,” Mutyaba said of his participation at CHAN in Algeria, “A real motivation. It meant a lot to me and added more to my career. I call it my biggest achievement in my football (so far).

Mutyaba can dribble, dazzle and create chances from nothing, a quality Micho will likely call on at some point over the two back-to-back matches against the Tanzanians. 

Like Okello, Mutyaba – who joined Villa from the junior team of Vipers SC in 2021, has represented the country at every level in the run-up to this senior call-up. 

He put up MVP performances with the national U15s and U17s at the respective regional Cecafa tournaments and many will recall that individual effort goal he scored against Tanzania in CHAN qualification when aged just 16. Dejavu?

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