By Andrew Mwanguhya
KAMPALA, Cranes coach Bobby Williamson believes it will be the greatest moment of his career if Uganda sum up the independence week by beating Zambia to next year’s Nations Cup.
Uganda host Zambia next Saturday looking to win by a two-goal margin to be certain of qualification, the African champions having taken a 1-0 lead from the first leg. “If it (qualification) happens, It would be fantastic,” said Bobby, “It would be the biggest success of my career and of all these players’ I would imagine.”
The Scot is well aware Uganda last qualified for Africa’s prime soccer competition in 1978 and that the qualifier is happening in a week the East African country is marking 50 years of independence from Britain.
Thus, the match can’t be more significant. “It’s been a long time since we’ve qualified for this tournament…it’s been a long time since Uganda gained its independence,” explained Bobby to Daily Monitor at Namboole yesterday after naming the 26 players he will work with until the game next weekend. “So hope it all comes together (independence commemoration and qualification) at the same time, it would be fantastic. It will be a great week for all Ugandans if we can manage to do that.”
But has he pumped up the players with the Jubilee celebrations vibe and what it could be if they handed Uganda an independence gift as huge as a ticket to the finals in South Africa next year? “No… Not yet. All the players are not here. Once all the players are here we will see to that. “But we’ve got a small matter of dealing with the continental champions.
As I said they also quickly want to go to South Africa and defend the title. “But to be honest I don’t see why they should be playing qualifiers in the first place. I think the champion should be at the tournament by them being champions. But Caf decide that they should play qualifiers.
“They are hard to come up against and they are 1-0 up. Hope we do our job well when they come to Kampala.” Notably missing in Bobby’s final 26-man squad is Martin Kayongo Mutumba but the Scot said more players can always be added in situations of injuries.
Elsewhere, Uganda fell two positions to 90th in the Fifa rankings released yesterday. Nations Cup champions Zambia are 41st.