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Jackson Mayanja On Uganda Cranes Chances, Fahad Bayo and Allan Okello

Cranes legend Jackson Mayanja says that Uganda has a chance to qualify to the next round of the ongoing FIFA World Cup Qualifiers.

Seated second in Group E, Uganda hosts Kenya this Thursday at Kitende in the penultimate group game before ending the campaign away to leaders Mali.

Mayanja believes that Uganda has a chance against the two opponents given the ‘good players’ at coach Micho’s disposal.

But the provisional Cranes squad comprises of only 10 foreign based players, with the rest of the team made up of local contingent.

Seven of the local based players come from UPL side Vipers, and in a wide range of interview with The-SportsNation, Mayanja seconded Micho’s summoned squad.

“Vipers have the best players at the moment so there is no way you can deny them a chance on the National Team. I second him (Micho) 100%,” Mayanja said.

“We have a chance on those teams (Kenya and Mali) according to the players we have. We may have few foreign-based players on paper but even some of these local players like Yunus Sentamu and Denis Iguma, they have had some stints abroad and that will be of help as well.

“These professional players should live as advertised. They must be the example and be the difference.

“During our times, I remember Majidu Musisi and I were the only two professionals who were added to nine other Express FC players to make the National team XI. And we were the pillars of the team. We carried the team to greater heights and you could see everyone contented when we arrived. And we almost qualified. But the likes of Nigeria had many good players and we missed out by a whisker.”

Mayanja, it should be remembered that, scored six times in the 1994 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying campaign.

Then, Uganda finished just a point behind Nigeria in Group B of the qualifiers to miss the 1994 AFCON held in Tunisia.

Uganda will bank on striker Fahad Bayo once again after the FC Ashdod forward bagged two goals in Cranes double header against Rwanda.

Mayanja heaped praise on the former Vipers target-man: “Fahad Bayo has proved himself, he has a good height and Body. He deserves to be our top target-man. And I was very happy when coach Micho trusted him after dropping captain Emmanuel Okwi.”

Besides Bayo, among other foreign-based players include Allan Okello who missed the opening games of the campaign.

Okello, in fact, drew comparison to Mayanja who is by many the best talented player Uganda has ever produced.

“My friend, I do not think any of the current players can match our level of technique. There was Kizito Luwagga, he had soft feet but now even do not know where he is at the moment.”

“Okello tried and he was promising. Though people get excited and get carried away easily. But he has struggled in the past after leaving KCCA FC where he was given all the freedom he needed under Coach Mike Mutebi.

Coach Jackson Mayanja. Courtesy photo

“And that should be a lesson to our local coaches that they should let these players play free flowing football, give them freedom to showcase their abilities and that is the only way we will be able to produce the likes of Mayanjas, Majidus and Bogeres.”

“Giving players freedom on the pitch, but within the coach’s tactical approach, will also help our local league produce more goals as it was in the past.”

Did you know – Jackson Mayanja was nicknamed ‘Mia Mia by El Masry which translates to 100% in reference to his perfection with ball.


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