Milutin Sredojević, the coach that led Uganda back to relevance after decades of obscurity, has now officially left the team.
As Pharaohs XI reported a week ago, the man better known as Micho is now headed back to South Africa to lead Orlando Pirates – with whom he enjoyed relative success in 2006 – leading them to a semifinal appearance in the African Champions League.
Uganda’s Football Federation (FUFA) confirmed Micho’s departure in an official press statement.
“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 [Africa Cup of Nations] finals in Gabon for the first time since 1978.
“Ugandans will forever keep those memories with them,” the statement read.
The 47-year-old is purportedly owed upwards of $64,000, or the equivalent of six month’s unpaid wages.
The move is a blow to Uganda’s 2018 FIFA World Cup hopes, with crucial qualifiers forthcoming against Egypt on Aug. 31 and Sept. 5.
Ugandan football has experienced an unmistakable renaissance under Micho’s tutelage, returning to the Africa Cup of Nations for the first time 39 years.
Micho also had the Cranes in second place in their World Cup qualifying group, just two points adrift of leaders Egypt.
The Serbian took the Cranes’ reins four years ago, steadily catapulting up FIFA’s World Ranking while introducing new faces to the squad.
Micho also successfully managed Uganda’s CHAN squad, a CAF-sanctioned international tournament featuring only locally-based players.
His last match in charge came a week ago in a 5-1 drubbing of South Sudan. The win sent the Cranes to the third round of 2018 CHAN qualifying.
The search for Micho’s replacement is said to be underway, with sources telling Pharaohs XI that one of his Uganda assistants may be appointed interim head coach given their familiarity with Micho’s system and squad.