Walusimbi Puzzle

Yet again, Cranes coach Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojevic finds himself in a precarious position, as the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations qualification games against Ghana and Guinea draw nigh.

The Cranes have to win both games to stand a chance of qualifying. But, then, how do you win such tough games against a team like Ghana that was recently going punch for punch against Germany, the eventual winners at the recent World Cup without Godfrey Walusimbi, who is arguably your best player?

“I don’t know really,” said Micho in a rather laid-back tone recently. “But I am sure we just have to get on with it because it’s our job to try and get the job done, however hard it may be at this juncture,” he added.

Following the back-to-back losses Cranes suffered against Togo last month, the future has looked bleak for the team. And Walusimbi out of the Ghana game due to the yellow cards he received in previous games, he will be a big miss and replacing him will be hard.

Previously, Micho used Joseph Ochaya in the game away to Madagascar in June. But Ochaya had a stinker, as his defensive frailties were laid bare by the islanders. In the return leg of that tie, Micho fielded Brian Majwega, a natural left-winger, as left-back.

While Majwega did well at left back, he has largely been used by Micho as his trump card off the bench to change the game, something he has succeeded at. But could Micho be tempted to return to him to fill Walusimbi’s boots?

“We will see in training. But at this moment, I can’t tell,” Micho reiterated. Such is the enormity of Micho’s problem.

No quick answers can be found to solve a problem of a player that is always the first name on the team sheet. Although many will find it interesting that a defender like Walusimbi and his absence can cause much worry, observers note that he is a player that gives The Cranes much.

Not only is he a very solid defender, but his intelligent use of the ball gives Uganda good forward movement. Walusimbi is the kind ofplayer many able to stop the threat posed by the likes of Christian Atsu, Jordan Ayew or Andre Ayew because of his good tackling and toughness, which make him hard to beat despite his small size.

In addition, Walusimbi normally has the highest number of touches on the ball, which also makes him a good passer. He thus comes across as a key outlet for The Cranes’ attacks, as his good crosses are a good attribute to his game that the strikers can get goals through.

Just over the weekend, Walusimbi was among the scorers for Kenyan side Gor Mahia in their game against Muhoroni. While he isn’t a regular goal-scorer, he is the kind of full-back that moves with the counter-attack or general attack, and exercises calmness in possession.

That is needed for good decision-making in tight situations. Some of those include free-kicks, and Walusimbi has converted a few of those at club level, and delivered many accurately onto the heads of the forwards to great effect.

Now Micho has a decision to make on either Alex Kakuba, Fred Nkata, Isaac Muleme or Majwega to fill Walusimbi’s boots. But he knows without Walusimbi, Cranes has its work cut out.

Source : The Observer

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