When the Kobs lost to Mozambique in an All Africa Games qualifier, the reputation of Cranes coach Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojevic was put into question.
But with The Cranes 1-0 win over Nigeria last week in an international friendly, Micho isn’t knackered anymore. And the timing of this result has coincided with him securing a new three year contract, handed to him on Wednesday April 1 at Fufa house, Mengo by Fufa President, Moses Magogo.
Nonetheless, mixed reactions have followed this news. The air in the room, as Micho and Magogo exchanged handshakes to confirm agreement in the glare of the media, did not seem to be of sealing approval. In fact, it seemed like a real examination on whether Micho had performed in his first two years to warrant a contract extension.
As such, Micho was put in the uncomfortable position to explain what had been his achievements over the two years of his first contract handed to him by former Fufa President, Lawrence Mulindwa on May 21, 2013.
Bearing in mind that Micho’s predecessor, Bobby Williamson had been sacked in April 2013 after failing in the 2014 World Cup qualifiers, and had also failed twice to take Cranes to the Africa Cup of Nations, Micho had his work cut out. He had not done any better than Williamson, and to critics, they saw no reason for him to stay on.
But Micho said that he had guided Cranes to Chan 2014, revived a dead World Cup qualification campaign and Cranes came to within one game of qualification. In addition to that, Magogo credited Micho for giving a number of youngsters exposure from which they have secured professional contracts at better clubs away from Uganda.
A case in point is striker Yunus Sentamu, who moved from Vipers FC to AS Vita in DR Congo and now is in Tunisia at Club Sfaxien. This followed his performances at the Chan. Others like Brian Majwega and Richard Kasagga have also made moves away from Uganda reportedly because of the opportunities given to them in Cranes colours and his wide contacts through which players have been linked to foreign clubs.
In addition, in the last ten years, Cranes has played 26 international friendly matches. But 10 of them have come during Micho’s tenure. He is considered responsible for enabling Cranes get those friendlies a platform seen to be very crucial if Uganda’s players are to improve and break the 36-year jinx without being at Afcon.
So, it is this kind of package that Micho comes with, which Magogo believes must be maintained. “For any team in the world that has been successful, stability and consistency have been key tenets,” Magogo said.
“And by continuing with Micho, we are ensuring that. We believe he has learnt the terrain and the players now. Therefore, there is no need to change. But if he fails to get the team to Afcon 2019, he will go,” Magogo emphasized.
Only Afcon 2019 will exonerate Micho by a mile especially when one considers that Williamson won four Cecafa titles, qualified for Chan and also took the under-23s to the All Africa Games in 2011. Micho has four years to work his magic if indeed he is to leave a legacy in a country he calls home.
But for the home-grown coaches that were hoping for an opportunity to take Cranes job, that matter has been put to rest. And no one but Mike Mutebi remains the last Cranes home-grown tactician, back in 2004.
However, it was always going to be difficult for a local coach to succeed Micho. Like Magogo said, that can be in the foreseeable future because right now Uganda lacks coaching capacity. Not more than 100 coaches in the country have the qualifications. And the majority of those qualifications are not big enough to coach a national team.
Cranes coaches since 1996
Asuman Lubowa-1996 to 1999
Paul Hasule- 1999 to 2000
Harrison Okagbue (Nigeria)- 2000 to 2001
Paul Hasule- 2002 to 2003
Pedro Pasqulli- 2003
Leo Adraa and Charles Namakola- 2003 to 2004
Mike Mutebi- 2004
Muhammed Abbas (Egypt)- 2004 to 2005
Tomislav Sivic (Serbia) – 2006
Csaba Laszlo (German) – 2006 to 2008
Bobby Williamson (Scotland) – 2008 to 2013
Micho (Serbia) – 2013 to date
Source : The Observer