KAMPALA. Searching for the last time Uganda Cranes scored from a set-piece in a competitive match is a painful experience, if we disregard Farouq Miya’s spot-kick against Lesotho last Saturday.
The search takes you back to November 15, 2014 when Savio Kabugo headed home from a corner in the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) Qualifier against Ghana at Mandela Stadium – Namboole.
Kabugo is far from the Cranes set-up now and his then coach Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredejovic has returned to club football at Orlando Pirates in South Africa.
For good measure, the last time we scored from a set-piece in a friendly was in the 3-1 home win over Sao Tome and Principe in March. Murushid Juuko doubled Uganda’s lead after Joseph Ochaya’s opener in that encounter.
On Saturday, in yet another Afcon qualification campaign, the Cranes seemed poised to exorcise those ghosts as they beat Lesotho 3-0 at Namboole. Just within 16 minutes, Edrisa Lubega and Emmanuel Okwi had combined to win four set pieces.
“It is down to the profile of the team,” Cranes coach Sebastien Desabre, explained why his team is struggling to convert from dead ball situations.
“We have centrebacks that are not very tall. It is a fact we miss some height but we can be more dynamic with the shorter players, we can find a balance.”
Desabre had options like Derrick Nsibambi and Patrick Kaddu in his squad but for a coach who is keen on playing expansive attacking football, it is easy to see why the Frenchman won’t really set out to win on an odd piece.
In fact he unleashed two playmakers in Farouk Miya and Moses Waiswa with the hope that they create opportunities for Lubega and Okwi to run at the Lesotho defence. It paid off with the latter scoring twice, one off Lubega cross, and winning the penalty Miya converted in the 35th minute.
Yet setpieces can come in handy – say in a tough away game or against high profile opponents like Ghana in 2014.
“We worked on Thursday on setpieces for a very long time. We agree they are an important part of the game and we shall continue to work a bit on that,” Desabre added.
The Frenchman will hope that Cranes are more accurate from outside the area should they be gifted opportunities in Maseru tonight against Lesotho.