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What next for Cranes, with CHAN qualifiers looming?

Former Cranes coach Desabre (L) and assistant coach Matia Lule during a training session at Lugogo PHOTO: EDDIE CHICCO - Daily Monitor

In three weeks’, time, Uganda will embark on the qualification campaign for the 2020 African Nations Championship, starting away against Somalia, between July 26th and July 28th, quickly followed by the return leg in Kampala, a week later, between 2nd and 4th, August.

The Cranes though, are without a coach after Sébastien Desabre’s resignation on Saturday, July 6th a day after Uganda were knocked out of the 2019 Total Africa Cup of Nations, by Senegal at the Round of 16.

Matia Lule has been Desabre’s assistant since he took over on December 28th, 2017, from then interim coach Moses Basena, who had come in following Milutin Micho Sredejovic’s sudden departure on June 29th, 2017.

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Abdallah Mubiru was in charge of the Cranes team that played at the COSAFA Championship in South Africa in June 2019 / FUFA Photo

Like Basena, Lule is likely to temporarily guide Uganda through the qualifiers if FUFA takes its time to find a suitable permanent replacement for Desabre, as it usually does.

In the event that Lule is overlooked for the job, the next in line could be Police FC’s Abdallah Mubiru, the former midfielder, who was in charge of the second-string Cranes team that finished eighth at the 2019 COSAFA Championship last month.

Cranes picked up two draws against Lesotho (0-0) and South Africa (1-1) but lost on penalties 3-2 and 4-2 respectively.

According to reports, Mubiru was Desabre’s choice to be in charge of the COSAFA team, it is not yet clear whether FUFA would consider him for the CHAN qualifiers as well.

Not many local coaches have international exposure

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KCCA FC manager Mike Mutebi during a post match press conference at Lugogo recently | KCCA FAC Photo

KCCA FC’s Mike Mutebi is the outright favourite if FUFA is to go local, however he carries with him too much ‘baggage’ from his past stints as Cranes’ boss.

His outspoken nature has also often proven a handful for many in the past, and may as such put FUFA off.

With Uganda having featured at four out of five CHAN finals and with the federation embarking on building a new Cranes beyond the current generation, qualifying for Cameroon 2020 is a must for anyone who will be in charge of the qualifiers.

It should be noted that only one local coach has helped Uganda qualify for a major championship since Peter Okee guided Uganda to the final of the 1978 Nations Cup.

Basena defeated Rwanda 3-2 on aggregate to book Uganda’s ticket to the 2018 CHAN finals in Morocco but he didn’t coach at the finals proper, as he was replaced by Desabre before the tournament started.

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