The COSAFA Cup has long been a platform for players to showcase their qualities and build their reputations, but the same too goes for coaches and Uganda tactician Abdallah Mubiru hopes this will ring true for him in 2019.
Mubiru will stand in for regular head coach Sebastien Desabre in Durban as the East African guest nation enter the competition at the quarterfinal stage with a match-up against Lesotho. Mubiru is the coach of local side Police FC and admits his elevation to the national team role has come as a surprise but is one he is ready to embrace.
“My main target is to perform better in COSAFA by putting up good performances in the tournament which will earn us respect as coaches, players and the nation at large,” Mubiru told www.football-256.com.
“I thank God for my appointment, it motivates me because I didn’t expect it, I didn’t apply for it but out of many good coaches I am the chosen one. “I will learn new things, increase my proficiency and gain new experience just as any person who is hopeful of going higher.”
Uganda will use the competition to give fringe players in their Africa Cup of Nations squad a run, as well as to prepare for the African Nations Championship qualifiers later in the year.
“I am just happy and proud of it because I am going to prepare the team for the 2020 African Nations Championships qualifiers, I only embrace the opportunity given to me.”
Also, among the technical group is team manager Geofrey Massa, who had a long and distinguished career, including in South Africa’s Premier Soccer League. Massa turned out for Jomo Cosmos, University of Pretoria and Bloemfontein Celtic, and is only recently retired.
“I am happy to work with them, Massa is a big name in Uganda’s football, I am happy for his return because football has been missing him, he has a lot to share with young lads.”
Mubiru will be assisted by Morley Byekwaso, a former teammate during their playing days.
“Morley Byekwaso is my long-time colleague, we played together, did everything together, so I hope for the best with them and eager to start working with them.”
Uganda have long been a power in the East African region and over recent years have seen their fortunes change for the better on the continental stage as well.
The Cranes had to wait 39 years between participations at the Africa Cup of Nations finals before their qualification in 2017 and have now made it back-to-back appearances as they go to Egypt as well this year.
Uganda have participated at COSAFA events in the past, most recently at the COSAFA Women’s Championship in South Africa last year, but also at Under-20 level in the men’s competition.