Loyal ‘Micho’ still out to make Uganda proud
MILUTIN SREDOJEVIC used almost every word he knew in the English language to prove his loyalty to Uganda.
But he still didn’t say much about his future amid speculations that he could leave the post after this Africa Cup of Nations. Before this tournament it looked like Sredojevic’s departure would be his decision as he was linked to the Bafana Bafana, Orlando Pirates and even Ghana coaching jobs after he helped the Cranes qualify for the Afcon for the first time in 39 years.
But after the Cranes crashed out of the group stage in Gabon with a game to spare, there were suddenly talks about how his mandate was to reach the last eight.
Despite those talks, the players and even the Federation of Uganda Football Associations, have gone on the record to say that they would welcome the Serbian staying on.
“I have a contract with Uganda until (next year),” Sredojevic,
pictured, said. “I am fully committed, dedicated, loyal and I have been giving 200 percent to this team. I can’t speak much about my future now. I still have the bitter taste of being disappointed that we got knocked out. “Uganda doesn’t deserve to be out, especially in this fashion. If someone beats you convincingly, you put up yours hands, admit defeat and keep quiet. But losing because of one lapse of concentration (against both Ghana and Egypt), it is very painful. “This is the school fees we need to pay to be among the best in Africa.”
If “Micho” stays, his biggest drive will be to take the Cranes to the World Cup for the first time in the country’s history.
He has already made history by ending an almost 40-year absence in the Afcon. Their participation in this tournament would have prepared them well for this year’s World Cup qualifiers.
The Cranes are in Africa World Cup 2018 qualifier Group E, alongside Ghana, Egypt and Congo-Brazzaville. They currently sit in second place with four points, two points behind Egypt and three points ahead of the Black Stars, but will have to finish on top of the group to qualify for Russia.
“We have shown that we have what it takes to qualify for the World Cup,” Sredojevic insisted.
“You must keep in mind that in the three games that we have to play against Egypt and Ghana, two of them are in Kampala. I can tell you that we aren’t pushovers there.
“We have high ambitions. We can hold our own against any team in the continent. We managed to hold Ghana and Egypt for long moments. Our next step of development will be to play for the entire 90 minutes so that we can make our supporters happy.”
Uganda left Port-Gentil for Oyem to face Mali there in their last Group D match tomorrow night.
The Eagles still stand a chance of making it to the quarter-finals.
The Cranes held their own against teams that have won this competition a combined 11 times. It took a last minute goal from Abdallah El-Said to knock Uganda out of the tournament after they had held seven-time African champions, Egypt, for 89 minutes.
A mistake by Isaac Isinde cost Uganda in their 1-0 loss to Ghana.
“We are a very proud team,” Sredojevic continued. “Every match we have played here has felt like we’re in the (Afcon) final. We want a win (against Mali), nothing else. I can assure our supporters and everyone that we will go into that match with the aim of getting something, so that we can go home with something to be proud of.”