Injuries Distract Isabirye

Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) FC faced Sports Club Victoria University (SCVU) in the league yesterday with several talking points beforehand.

Alex Isabirye, the URA coach, was facing his former side, which he guided to the 2013 Uganda Cup triumph. And a number of URA players were at one time turning out for SCVU. For example, midfielders Yasser Mugerwa and Noah Semakula.

The game which took place at Namboole stadium, ended 2-0 in favour of the Taxmen. However, it went ahead against the liking of URA, who are stuck in a real mire, following the number of injuries in their squad, just before they face Orlando Pirates this weekend in a return leg of a Caf Confederations Cup.

Strikers Frank Kalanda (fever) and Peter Lwasa (ankle) have joined the list of crocked players at URA like defensive midfielder Oscar Agaba (hamstring) and centre-back Deo Otieno (knee). And the situation isn’t helped by the fact that lead striker Robert Ssentongo remains suspended for the return leg.

Isabirye, who is trying so much to hide his frustration following the lack of a clean bill of health from his team, told The Observer that regardless of the situation, he has to look up. “I have to work with the players available to move forward,” Isabirye said.

With a possibility that Isabirye won’t have all three of his centre-forwards, is such a distressing occurrence. But Isabirye said that he has been working out a new strategy of using his attacking midfielders to lead the line. Patrick Ochan, Semakula, Moses Feni and Dickson Kigongo are the options that Isabirye is planning to call on now.

And the reason for that, Isabirye said, is because they are the kind, who have goal-scoring in their repertoire too. But, on the other hand, observers believe that as a coach, he will have to work extra hard to get them in tip-top shape. Ochan, Semakula and Kigongo haven’t played much of late because of poor form.

They have clearly looked leggy besides the fact that Kigongo isn’t comfortable heading, a key requirement to lead the line while Ochan and Semakula lack the patience to stay around the penalty area to pounce like most good strikers do. That aside, Isabirye has had few days to inculcate them in the practice of being centre-forwards.

In addition, without Agaba, finding an able defensive midfielder should be difficult. Isabirye, however, is a man with a plan. Mugerwa, who was impressive in the away leg, linking midfield to the attack, may have to drop into defensive midfield, which isn’t his cup of tea, considering his orientation over the last few years.

“Playing there will clearly be new to him but not really overwhelming since it still remains central midfield,” Isabirye noted.

However, he hastily added that the most important thing will be in ensuring that the team plays with the necessary discipline needed at home. For starters, Isabirye explained that defending is the most difficult thing to do as opposed to scoring a goal. It will be incumbent on the team to keep its shape first and play patiently for an opportunity to arise from which they can score a goal, Isabirye reasoned.

But what is more important to Isabirye, even after last evening’s game with SCVU, is that he bears no doubts in his head that URA will knock out Orlando Pirates and march on in the Caf Confederations Cup.

Caf Confederation Cup

URA FC v Orlando Pirates


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Source : The Observer


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