News of the return of Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojevic hardly surprised me. I have said many times that the level of Ugandan football needs a pragmatic coach like Micho and he has proved over the years that he is the master of spotting and nurturing players into stars.
Athletes Jacob Kiplimo (L) and Joshua Cheptegei have raised the Ugandan flag high unlike in the past when scandals clouded the team. This is also an opportunity for Fufa to atone for the financial mishaps that forced the Serbian to leave in 2018.
In all ways, Micho’s release by the Zambian FA was a blessing in disguise for Fufa and I have little doubt Micho is going to raise the profile of our game. A week ago, I tweeted that Micho is the best coach in the region. He is tailormade for Uganda in terms of identifying players, understanding the potential of players as well as their form.
He is so meticulous that he knows every player worth his salt in the region and beyond. In 2015 while I was Villa president, I was on a brink of signing Zambian international Jones Mwewa when I consulted Micho about his opinion.
Without even blinking, Micho explained in great detail the player’s hidden injury. He is so well informed about football in the region that he knows all stadiums and their advantages to particular style of play.
Secondly, Micho perfectly knows how to reconcile the national team duty with the clubs. He is the only Cranes coach to take time off and attend a Villa training session to tip coaches; he often visited KCC trainings to compare notes with Mike Mutebi.
He does so with all clubs but a local Cranes coach cannot do so because all parties despise one another. In fact, Micho goes about his work so seamlessly it is hard to find any coach who doesn’t like him.
Lastly, Micho is the one coach who provides every player with a chance to prove himself. It is so telling that during my time at Villa, Micho used to summon to the national team hot prospects such as John Adriko, Joseph Nsubuga, Bernard Muwanga, Martin Kizza and Vitalis Tabu.
These youngsters always performed beyond expectations but they faded into oblivion the moment he left. This is down to poor handling of local coaches who didn’t do enough to inspire them.
So, to reinvigorate the national team, we need a shrewd person like Micho and the one closest to him locally is Wasswa Bbosa.
What’s more, Micho holds the advantage of being a European and it helps him to easily rein over the players not to mention the many contacts on the continent and beyond. Micho also has a disposition to kindness and compassion and showed it to me many times; often recommending Villa players for professional stints to improve their game.
To sum it all, Micho is down-to-earth, has no airs or pride in the work he does. Micho doesn’t mind jumping on a boda boda to make it in time for a game or even find him at an Afrigo band concert freely interacting with patrons.
Besides, he doesn’t engage in football politics like most local coaches. So, having Micho is a masterstroke that polishes the tainted image of Moses Magogo, the Fufa president.
Finally, my hope is that Fufa fulfils its obligation to pay Micho but it needs to be made clear that the Serbian grooms a local coach to take over when he departs.
There are several capable Ugandan tacticians like Wasswa Bbosa, Sam Ssimbwa, Mike Mutebi and Douglas Bamweyana, among others, who simply need international exposure to elevate their careers to global scene.
The author is Nyamityobora FC president