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Micho confirms end of the road with Uganda Cranes

Micho at the press conference

FUFA  receives termination letter, wishes Micho well

Kabira Club, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Coach Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojevich has confirmed he is leaving the Uganda national soccer team Cranes.

Micho told the press in Kampala Saturday that he has got up to nine offers to consinder now. He confirmed he is not going to Libya, is not going to handle a national team but did not confirm speculation linking him to Orlando Pirates in South Africa or Zamalek in Egypt.

“Termination of the contract happened last night. I have not cheated, I have not stolen, but I have come here to clear the air, ” he said. (see live twitter feed #Micho & #GoodbyeMicho below)

The Serbian football coach said he will announce his next destination soon, and confirmed talks on payment of his salary arrears and allowances of over $64,000 ( about Sh230m) with soccer governing body FUFA had stalled, thus his decision to move on.

“It is not easy to be coach of Uganda. My agent and I had seven days of talks with FUFA but all yielded nothing,” Micho, 47, said. “I have not been allowed to take Uganda to the World Cup. They succeeded to remove me.”

Micho led Uganda Cranes to their first Nations Cup finals in 38 years. Cranes managed one draw in their first apperance since 1978.

Micho concluded the press conference at Kabira Club in Kampala with a prayer in Serbian, and made a sign of the cross.

Micho announces his depature from the Uganda Cranes. PHOTOS LOUIS JADWONG

FUFA wishes Micho well

A few hours after the press conference ended at 9.00GMT, soccer governing body FUFA confirmed Micho had indeed quit.

“FUFA is in receipt of a letter from Mr. Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojevic terminating his services as Uganda Cranes coach,” FUFA said in a statement. “FUFA wishes Micho the best in his future adventures.”

“FUFA would like to thank Mr. Sredojevic for the services rendered to the Uganda Cranes during his time as coach of the National team especially when he guided the country to the AFCON finals in Gabon for the first time since 1978. Ugandans will forever keep those memories with them.”

In the statement, FUFA indicated no decision had been taken on the way forward. ” FUFA will keep the public and members of the football family updated in due course on the way forward about the technical aspects of the Uganda Cranes.”



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PREVIEW

Cranes coach Micho wants out

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | FRIDAY | All indications are that the Micho-FUFA saga will end today, with the Serbian football coach set to announce his next destination.

Cranes national team coach Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojevich confirmed to The Independent that he has called a 10.00am press conference Saturday at Kabira Club, just outside the city. He did not give details.

The Federation of Uganda Football Associations (FUFA) headquarters where football press conferences are usually held, is on the opposite side, in Mengo, in the city.

It was not immediately clear if FUFA are aware of the Saturday July 29, press conference.  Micho left for a “holiday” on Monday hours after meeting the FUFA executive.

At Monday’s meeting, the two parties agreed, according to a statement released after, that a decision on his future will be announced after CEO Edgar Watson meets his agent Ivic Stankovic to resolve his complaint about delayed payment of salary arrears said to be at $64000.

Micho has since been linked to South African club side Orlando, at which he had a stint years ago, but more recently to Egyptian giants Zamalek. Zamalek 24 hours ago sacked their coach Augusto Inacio.

Egypt would hit two birds with one stone if Micho left Uganda – for Zamalek. He is seen by many football experts as being capable of destabilizing World Cup qualifying Group E that has Egypt, Congo, Uganda and Ghana.

Uganda are currently lying second behind Egypt (6), Uganda (4), Ghana (1) and are due to clash on August 31.

GROUP E
TEAMS MP W D L GF GA +/- Pts
0 2 2 0 0 4 1 3 6
0 2 1 1 0 1 0 1 4
0 2 0 1 1 0 2 -2 1
0 2 0 0 2 1 3 -2 0

Who is Micho?

Whether he leaves or not, Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojevich’s name will remain etched in Uganda’s football history as the coach who broke the jinx!

History will state that in 1978, Uganda Cranes reached the final of the Nations Cup finals, falling to Ghana 2-0. Jimmy Kirunda and Phillip Omondi were some of the great names that Ugandan soccer would talk about for over three decades as players who last featured in the Nations Cup finals.

For close to four decades after 1978, Cranes beat all the giants from Ghana, Zambia to Nigeria, but qualification eluded them.

Uganda’s sports history will also add that FUFA presidents and coaches came and went but success remained elusive — until Lawrence Mulindwa in 2013. Then FUFA President Mulindwa, decided to bite the bullet and sack coach Bobby Williamson who had done a tremendous job with the team. In came ‘Micho’, and the rest is history.

Williamson had come in to replace Csaba László, who resigned in July 2008 to go to Hearts in Scotland, despite a running contract.  Williamson had led Cranes to four CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup trophies since 2008 but failed to secure qualification to the African Nations Cup in his five-year tenure – on one occasion failing on the very final day of qualification.

Micho ended the jinx last year as Uganda qualified. He then led the team to Gabon, where Cranes managed a point and seemed to grow stronger thereafter, with a strong performance in their opening two games of the World Cup qualifiers.

“FUFA hasn’t received any communication in regard to rumours that Cranes coach Micho has resigned. The Serbian is still under contract,” Federation of Uganda Football Associations FUFA said Saturday.

FUFA were reacting to stories that they called mere “rumours” that Micho had said goodbye after his new look Cranes had humbled South Sudan 5-1 in the CHAN tournament second leg – at the Phillip Omondi Stadium.

FUFA then met Monday this week with the coach at FUFA House in Mengo, at which they released a statement saying the two parties agreed that CEO Watson talks to Micho’s agent Ivic Stankovic.to resolve any issues between them.

ALL SMILES ON MONDAY: Micho (2nd right) after meeting FUFA officials. Micho’s agent now comes into play.

Micho, who like Donald Trump usually says it all on twitter, was silent five hours after the meeting ended,  then he tweeted: “48 hours expired I couldn’t come out with final outcome as promised due to human wish that unfortunate situation is sorted in civilised way.”

Will Micho face his former side Rwanda?

The “rumours” started minutes after Uganda walked past South Sudan at Lugogo on Saturday.

Their next CHAN opponents – Rwanda.

Micho has handled Rwanda before as well.

Micho started his African adventure in Uganda with SC Villa, went via St.George in Ethiopia, Orlando Pirates in South Africa, Al-Hilal in Sudan and Rwanda before coming to Uganda.  He has complained for years about failure by FUFA to pay his salary under the agreed contract.

A mutual separation based on the terms of the contract now look inveitable. What Micho called rumours a few days, could become reality at Kabira Club today.

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