Uganda Faces Striker Crisis|CHAN

Africa Nations Championships

January 12

Uganda v Burkina Faso

January 16

Zimbabwe v Uganda

January 20

Morocco v Uganda

Striker Frank Kalanda (R) celebrates with Hassan Wasswa as Cranes rallied to go past Tanzania 3-1 at Namboole in July and qualify for Chan. Wasswa captained Cranes in the qualifiers but both players are out of the team.
Striker Frank Kalanda (R) celebrates with Hassan Wasswa as Cranes rallied to go past Tanzania 3-1 at Namboole in July and qualify for Chan. Wasswa captained Cranes in the qualifiers but both players are out of the team.

Uganda Cranes coach Micho Sredojevic goes into next month’s Chan Championship in South Africa with out a credible striker to field in his team after qualification hero Frank Kalanda who scored twice as Cranes rallied to go past Tanzania 3-1 at Namboole abandoned the team for semi professional trials in Vietnam.

That leaves Micho with untested Francis Olaki (Soana FC), Simon Okwi (SC Victoria University), Yunus Ssentamu (Vipers FC) and Crespo Asiku(Bidco) as the main striking options.

But the Serbian has promised to address the striker crisis before the tournament. “The work of the coach is to bring out the best in players. So, together with my staff, we shall ensure they are in the best shape come January,” he said during a recent weekly Fufa press briefing at Mengo. Olaki, the sharper of the lot, has scored eight goals in 15 domestic league games, but his fitness remains a big concern seeing that he has just returned from an ankle injury.

Okwi has six to his name, Ssentamu five. “We face a crisis and I will deal with it properly. I have belief in my players and it will be no hard task to fill in the void,” Micho added on Monday.

The Cranes returned to Namboole national Stadium on Friday last week after taking part in the 2013 CECAFA Senior Challenge in Kenya and are ready to turn the jinx and odds at the continental showpiece in which they failed to register a single victory on first calling in 2011 Sudan.

Influential defender cum midfield player Denis Guma, who turns out of local giants SC Victoria University, said he is ready to use his skills to floor the oppoenets and boost Uganda’s chances of making it out of the group stages at the tourney that starts on January 12th.

“It is always good to be part of the Uganda team. Our opponents (Zimbabwe, Morocco and Burkina Faso) are a good teams, but we have to be better than them to clinch leave the group. Even without Kalanda, we can still beat them convincingly,” said Guma.

Guma had been sidelined for the past three months. “I feel a lot better now. The injury was not as serious as we thought. The doctors looked at the scan and assured me that all would be fine,” he added.

The Squad: Benjamin Ochan, Ismael Watenga, F. Oringa, Savio Kabugo, Nicholas Wadada, M. Mpuuga, R. Aloro, I. Kazibwe, S. Namwanja, Deniis Guma, Isaac Muleme, I. Ntege, Ayub Kisaalita, Richard Kasagga, J.Ntambi, Y.Mugerwa, Brian Majwega, Simon Okwi, Joseph Mpande, Said Kyeyune, Oscar Agaba, Vincent Kayizzi, R. Kisekka, Tom Masiko, A.Kyambadde, E.Ssentamu, C. Asiku, U. Kasumba, Francis Olaki

GROUP A
South Africa, Mozambique, Nigeria, Mali
GROUP B
Zimbabwe, Morocco, Burkina Faso, Uganda
GROUP C
Ghana, Congo Brazzaville, Ethiopia, Libya
GROUP D
DR Congo, Mauritania, Burundi, Gabon

 

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