The process of receiving applications for the Uganda Cranes coaching job officially closed on October 30.
This is after coach Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojevic quit the job three months ago over Shs 54 million salary arrears dispute. Local governing body Fufa named Micho’s assistant Moses Basena as caretaker.
A selection panel, led by former Zambian international Kalusha Bwalya, is expected to appoint a substiative Cranes coach before the end of this month. Basena, Jackson Mayanja and Sam Timbe complete the list of indigenous coaches, who have applied for the job.
However, the question is whether any local coach can be entrusted with this job in substantive capacity. Basena, who has been interim boss, feels he has the capacity to take the job on permanent basis.
KCCA FC manager Mike Mutebi concurs local coaches, who applied, have the capability but he wonders whether Fufa has the confidence in its own.
Mutebi says: “So many people here underestimate the ability of our own. But I do not think that Basena has done a bad job at all.”
He argues Basena has worked under not-so-easy circumstances during his interim period; so, it is hard to judge whether he could have done better than Micho.
It is probably hard to say for sure. Basena lost 0-1 to Madagascar in a friendly match, the same way Micho lost to Zambia last year at Namboole.
Basena’s charges beat Egypt at Namboole, yet lost away, something that would not be a far-fetched possibility if Micho were in charge. Basena’s only flaw is the two-legged qualifier Africa Nations Championship (Chan) with Rwanda. Despite winning 3-0 at home, The Cranes lost 0-2 in Kigali.
Conversely, Micho was so good in Chan qualifiers. For the four years Micho was in charge, Cranes never lost a Chan qualifier. In fact, Cranes never conceded an away goal in four games, a remarkable fact that could make the appointing authority believe a foreign coach is best suited to instil confidence in the team while playing away from home.
Yet, Maroons coach Asaph Mwebaze says Fufa is using the process of appointing the coach as a public relations stunt.
“The anticipation of a new Cranes coach creates excitement and that, to Fufa, attracts public interest, which enables them galvanize support for the team,” Mwebaze explained, adding that the Cranes job markets Fufa, too.
And therefore, the kind of man handed the job must have incredible appeal. So, does that mean it is foolhardy to expect a local coach to be handed the reins?
Fufa CEO Edgar Watson insists the best man (with best credentials and better strategic plan) would take the job. But one former Fufa official, who preferred anonymity for fear of prejudicing the process, said it is impossible a local coach can be appointed.
In his view, local coaches do not have the charisma to handle the job despite Fufa’s great investment in training them. However, another school of thought is that Fufa’s calling out for applications shows they are not so sure of the kind of coach they need. Ideally, Fufa could have head hunted for someone they feel is right to develop the Cranes better.
But also, opening up the job confirms suspicion that Fufa are not satisfied with Basena and it is most likely they will appoint a foreign coach.