For the first time in the 2022 World Cup qualification edition, Motherwell defender Bevis Mugabi looks destined to feature when Uganda Cranes take on Kenya and Mali.
The towering defender with 10 caps under his belt was summoned by head coach Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojevic for the final two qualifiers after missing the first four matches due to travel restrictions.
However, the fact that the versatile defensive Colossus has missed almost three quarters of the qualification round has raised a few questions, never mind that the team has not conceded even once.
The 26 year old comes with more quality in the team, adds vast leadership skills and experience of playing at the highest level with high profile stars.
The fact that he is a regular in the Scottish top-flight at one of the biggest clubs there, is a huge plus. The last time a Ugandan player was a regular fixture in the Scottish Premier League was David Obua at Hearts between 2008-2012.
Mugabi has featured 12 times in his team’s 13 outings in the 2021/22 Scottish Premier League, helping them to fifth with 18 points.
He has been impressive all season with his defensive attributes but also chipped in with a goal against champions and leaders Rangers, the game’s first despite eventually falling 6-1.
This was his second after he had doubled the team’s tally in their 3-2 loss to Hibernian on the league’s opening day, on August 1.
His goal return has already matched that from 2020/21 despite playing 23 times in the league, it is an indication his appearances and strikes will only get better.
He has proved this since joining the side in the 2019/20 campaign from Yeovil where he had played 75 league matches in three years. In his debut year in Scotland, he played ten times.
With high level games against the Harambee Stars on November 11 at St Mary’s Stadium Kitende and Mali in Guinea three days later coming up, Mugabi who is a high profile defender should be a key pillar to Uganda’s road to the World Cup dream.