Africa Nations Championship
Uganda v Burkina Faso
Zimbabwe v Uganda
Morocco v Uganda
Uganda has not had the easiest of times in the past couple of months in regards to their players ending up injured, but nonetheless coach Milutin ‘Micho’ Sedrojevic has made some surprising picks in his final 23 man squad to attend the Africa Nations Championship in South Africa next month.
Recently missing in action midfielder Hassan Wasswa and goalkeeper Ali Kimera were included in Uganda’s final squad in a rather interesting move. Wasswa, who captained the Cranes through qualification, was not able to train with the team until Monday because of misunderstandings between FUFA and his Lugogo based former parent club KCCA over his inclusion while Kimera, on the other hand, has also been drafted in after a failed search for greener pastures in Veitnam.
Neither of them played in the disappointing CECAFA Senior Challenge cup in Kenya three weeks ago. Nevertheless, Micho backs his decision to include them, “It was a tough decision, but they right one I believe. We need their experience on the team . Or, they may be fit, but we don’t know what to expect in a real match. We’ll see in the next few days.”
Also included in the squad, on a much more positive note, is Uganda’s FSL two major stars, strikers Crespo Asiku and Francis Olaki both scoring goals for fun at their respective local clubs.
The Cranes’ best striker in the qualifying campaign with two goals, Frank Kalanda, didn’t made the cut along with two rising stars of Uganda football: Bul fc goalkeeper Oringa Franco and Police FC striker Umar Kasumba, who have been impressive in the FSL first round fixtures and won the coach’s attention throughout national team training spree.
Another person who made the squad despite suffering a knee injury in training was the centre-back Savio Kabugo alongside team captain Denis Iguma.
However, the biggest surprise pick of them all saw Micho selecting the 23-year-old KCCA midfielder cum defender Ronnie Kisseka, who didn’t play in any CHAN qualifying games but impressed in the training and was considered as replacement for first choice right back Nicholas Wadada who lost the fight to be fit following a battle with a right foot injury sustained last week from a boda boda accident.
The CHAN tournament that starts on January 11 is designed exclusively for players in domestic leagues.
Uganda Cranes is in Group B alongside Burkina Faso, Morocco and Zimbabwe. They will play their first match of the championships against the Burkinabe at Athlone Stadium on January 12 and face Morocco in their last group match.
Morocco are expected to assemble Raja Casablanca’s first team stars such as goalkeeper Khalid Askri, Zakaria El Hachimi, Adil Karrouchy, Issam Erraki, Abdelilah Hafidi, Mohsine Moutaouali and Mouhssine Iajour.
Goalkeepers: Benjamin Ochan (SCVU), Ismail Watenga (SC Vipers), Ali Kimera (SCVU)
Defenders: Ronnie Kisseka (KCCA) (Capt.) Denis Iguma (SCVU), Martin Mpuga (SCVU), Richard Kasaga (Kira Young), Isaac Muleme (SCVU), Savio Kabugo (SCVU), Rogers Aloro (KCCA)
Midfielders: Julius Ntambi (Kira Young), Saidi Kyeyune (URA), Allan Kyambade (Express), Vincent Kayizzi (SC Vipers), Yasser Mugerwa (SCVU), Brian Majwega (KCCA), Ivan Ntege (KCCA), Mpande Joseph (SC Vipers), Hassan Waswa (KCCA).
Forwards: Crespo Asiku (Bul FC), Francis Olaki (Soana), Simon Okwi (SCVU), Yunus Sentamu (SC Vipers)