Is Sebastien Desabre in danger of wasting Uganda's potential?

Sebastien Desabre of Uganda watches on during the 2018 CHAN Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

Milutin Sredojevic's departure from his role of Uganda head coach in July 2017, amidst allegations of unpaid wages, represented a significant blow for the Cranes.

The meticulous Serbian had ended the East Africans' near-40-year wait for a return to the Africa Cup of Nations, ushered in a new style of football and prompted optimism that the good times could last for the 1978 AFCON finalists.

However, FUFA's inability to pay up cost them Micho - who's now coaching Orlando Pirates - and plunged Uganda into uncertainty.

Still, with the right appointment, the Cranes could have built on Sredojevic's work and sustained their momentum.

Bob Paisley took Liverpool to greater heights following the unexpected exit of Bill Shankly, while Stefan Kovacs arguably got the best out of Ajax - at least for a while - after replacing the legendary Rinus Michels in 1971.

It wasn't impossible that Desabre could have refined Micho's method and taken Uganda to new heights. After all, the Frenchman has extensive experience in the African game, having previously taken charge of Wydad Casablanca, ASEC Mimosas, Ismaily, CS Garoua, Recreativo Desportivo Libolo and ES Tunis among others.

There aren't too many managers to have taken the helm at heavyweight clubs in so many different countries, across the continent, tackling different languages and cultures.

However, Desabre's tenure with the Cranes to date has been uninspiring, with the Frenchman doing little to suggest that he's the right man for the job...and the man to build on Micho's legacy.

Since the beginning of 2018, and the start of Desabre's tenure, his record is played eight, won one, drawn three and lost four.

Uganda were eliminated from the African Nations Championship after losing their first two matches, and Desabre's only win to date came in a friendly victory over Sao Tome e Principe in March.

This weekend, he had a gilt-edged opportunity to secure his first competitive triumph when Tanzania - still finding their feet under Emmanuel Amunike - came to town in an AFCON qualifier.

This is a Taifa Stars side who had won just once since July 2017, and recently began a four-game losing streak with a 2-1 defeat by local rivals Zanzibar.

However, even a win in front of their own fans was beyond them, as Uganda - who still remain atop AFCON Group L - spurned a series of chances and failed to convince with their attacking play.

The wet conditions and soggy turf surely conspired to neutralise Uganda's fluidity, while Emmanuel Okwi and Farouk Miya both missed big chances.

Yet Desabre's decision-making also played a part.

The decision to start the experienced Hassan Wasswa in the heart of the defence suggested that Desabre hadn't analysed the defensive midfielder's previous struggles in this role, particularly when charged with silencing Mbwana Samatta.

Uganda were fortunate to have escaped with a clean sheet, with the sluggish Wasswa a nervy and clumsy presence.

The faith in Joseph Ochaya also appears misplaced considering his wayward decision-making, and opting for debutant Patrick Kaddu ahead of Derrick Nsibambi is borderline bewildering from the Frenchman.

Perplexingly, he opted to leave the talented Ibrahim Saddam Juma on the bench while persisting with two defensive midfielders in Khalid Aucho and Denis Iguma.

It was an overly conservative strategy against a side ranked 58 places beneath them in the FIFA World Rankings, particularly as the game wore on and Uganda needed goals.

Uganda are not short of talented options, but Desabre has both demonstrated a conservatism with selection, and a certain ignorance about players' preferred positions, which didn't benefit Uganda in the CHAN or since.

In the same way that he seemed reluctant to use Paul Mucureezi, Muhammad Shaban or Nelson Senkatuka - at least in their preferred positions - during the CHAN, so he appears hesitant to introduce some of the nation's brightest talents when in need of goals.

Desabre still has time on his side to stamp his imprint on this Uganda side and secure their return to the AFCON; after all, they remain top of Group L and have a double-header with Lesotho - ranked 146th in the world - coming up in October.

If the Frenchman ends next month without a competitive victory under his belt, then the knives will be out, but if he can refine his approach with the Cranes and imbue his forwards with chemistry, then Uganda should be closing in on an AFCON berth.

It's not too late for Desabre to propel the East Africans forward with the same momentum they enjoyed under Micho, but he currently appears to be taking longer than expected to get to grips with the task ahead of him.