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UK-based Ikpeazu asked for more time on Cranes

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UK-based Ikpeazu asked for more time on Cranes. photo/ Getty images

Cardiff City towering striker Uche Ikpeazu has requested Uganda Cranes coach Micho Sredojevic for some more time on the decision to represent the country.
Micho recently revealed his frustrations at the 27-year-old’s reluctance to make a decision on playing for his mother’s country of birth.
“I’m telling you I have tried my best to convince him, including speaking to his mother when she has come here to help us talk to the boy but all have failed,” Micho told the daily monitor.

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Cranes head coach Micho remains optimistic about capturing his main target, Ikpeazu. photo/File

Ikpeazu, born to a Ugandan mother and Nigerian father in London, had in 2020 accepted a Cranes call-up from then-head coach Johnny McKinstry. But following persistent injuries and Covid limitations, the player’s debut did not happen.

And after McKinstry was sacked, the loanee from another British Championship side Middlesbrough, had a rethink over his national team allegiance.
But in the wake of Micho expressing his frustrations, Ikpeazu has told this newspaper that his main focus now is to secure a long-term club future and then a decision on Uganda can be made.

“I spoke to coach Micho and I told him to give me some time,” Ikpeazu told this newspaper.
“I’m focusing on club football for now. I haven’t made a decision yet on my international football.”
Asked how it was going with him at Cardiff, he replied: “So far I’ve done well… I’ve scored a few goals.”
He has scored three goals in 13 appearances for Cardiff since his loan move from Middlesbrough in January this year.

Not all hope is lost
That Ikpeazu, who also goes by the local name Mubiru, has not fully given up on Uganda has given Micho renewed hope that he might still have his man.
“I will approach him again,” Micho told Daily Monitor, “I will never give up on something that could be of our national interest.”
He added: “He is on loan, he can’t consolidate his place as coaches don’t see his top-class more often.”
Of the 13 matches Ikpeazu has played for Cardiff, he has started in only one. Overall, he has scored 56 goals and made 32 assists in 290 matches across a dozen leagues and competitions in the UK.

“Uganda is his medicine to get total confidence. Once he serves Uganda well and gets more confidence, more doors to a better club open.
“I hope he will find a place and logic in his heart and soul, and understanding in his mind that Uganda is his biggest chance, and equally that he is Uganda’s biggest chance. It’s a win-win situation.”

Ikpeazu’s size (6ft 3”), finishing and ability to hold off defenders while allowing teammates to exploit the channels, is an asset Micho believes Uganda needs for the striking question.
He would be the biggest man if he joined the Cranes. Currently, Israel-based Fahad Bayo, also fairly imposing at 6ft 1”, is the only consistent Uganda Cranes striker.

Sacking Mutebi was the least we could do to save the club- AS Kigali’s Gasana

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Mike Mutebi (middle) and Jackson Mayanja (right) during the unveiling ceremony at AS Kigali Football Club in January photo/ AS Kigali Media

AS Kigali Club General Secretary Francis Gasana has defended the club’s decision to axe Mike Mutebi and Jackson Mayanja insisting they had to go.

Mutebi was relieved of duties after just eighty-five days in charge and he managed just 13 games during that time positing 7 draws, 3 wins and as many losses.

“The performance of the club under their (Mutebi and Mayanja) guidance was not impressive and we decided to part ways,” he told The Times of Rwanda.

A section of the club fans was unimpressed with the decision to let one of the highly-rated coaches in the region go shortly saying he would have been given more time but Gasana thinks otherwise.

While football fans say that the club was too quick to sack Mutebi, Gasana revealed that the club was patient with the performances from the opening seven games since the appointment of the Ugandan coach for him to settle in the league.

Mutebi was immediately replaced by experienced Andre Casa Mbungo who has previously managed AFC Leopards and Bandari in Kenya, Kiyovu, Police, Rayon Sport and Gasogi in Rwanda.

He has also previously handled AS Kigali and guided the club to the Peace Cup in 2014.

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