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03.07.2004 Football News

Ugandans say It's "Now or Never"

By Fred Kaweesi
Ugandans say It's
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Uganda v Ghana Today, 4.30pm-Namboole IT'S not easy being famous. Just ask Ugandan Olympic bronze medallist Davis Kamoga. National hero status rests heavily on the shoulders. So heavy that Cranes tactician Mike Mutebi already feels it and has done everything to ensure Uganda has the right spring to thwart Ghana's star-studded side in today's 2006 World Cup/Nations Cup match. A test of silk rather than steel should however await Cranes, who entertain a side that has lost the trademark invincibility they became famous for, the South African 3-0 result notwithstanding. Ugandans can draw much-needed inspiration from the fact that Cranes emerged triumphant the last time the two sides clashed at the same venue. Uganda edged Ghana 1-0 before holding them to a 1-1 draw away in Accra. Cranes know they have the ability and the thousands who will flock Namboole, noisily challenging the visitors, should believe implicitly in them. Fuelled by that adrenaline, Mutebi's chosen ones will have confidence in each other and in their master's game plan. It remains to be seen whether Portuguese coach Mariano Bareto can seize the initiative. Cranes have the material with which to work, for all the incomparable virtuosity Ghana might possess. If Cranes play as bold and brave a match as they have been talking, they are capable of doing what they did to DR Congo in June, of getting what they want because, as a unit, they can attain it more than lofty opponents. Mutebi has stressed the importance of keeping the ball and, for the periods that Ghana might have it, “stay compact and keep shape” while pressurizing the visitor's creative field. Strikers Hassan Mubiru and Jamil Kyambadde are such clever and busy footballers, who should find space to harm a Ghanaian back-four that will be commanded by Bayern Munich defender Sammy Kuffour. Assan Bajope and Noah Kasule will seek to suffocate Juventus midfielder Steven Appiah, leaving Ibrahim Sekagya and Timothy Batabaire to handle Ibrahim Tanko. If Ali Muntari eludes David Obua on the right, Nestroy Kizito will be in close attendance to tackle the danger. If Kojo Poku beats Phillip Ssozi on the other flank, Johnson Bagoole will be there in a flash, sirens blazing. Focus might be shifted towards Bajope, Cranes' goal scorer in last year's 1-1 draw in Accra. The attacking midfielder was more than a handful then for the Ghanaian defense manned by Kuffour. Ghana probable line up: Adjei, J. Monseh, Amponsah, Coleman, S. Kuffour, M. Essien, A. Muntari, S. Appiah, I. Tanko, G. Asamoah and K. Poku Published on: Saturday, 3rd July, 2004

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