Uganda Cranes head coach Sebastien Desabre finally announced his final 23 man squad that will take part in the African cup of Nations that will kick off on June 21st 2019 in Egypt.
Unlike the previous edition in Gabon in 2017 that had 16 foreign based players, one player unattached to any club and six local based players. This time around 17 foreign based, two unattached and four local based players made the cut with 13 of them making a return having been part of the Gabon team.
Our reporter Ronald Lusulire gives you an overview about the players and their statistics concerning their general performances prior to the big tournament on the African Continent.
Name: Denis Masinde Onyango
Date of birth: 15th May 1985 (34 years)
Current club: Mamelodi Sundowns, South Africa.
Previous clubs: SC Villa, St. George, Supersport United, Mpumalanga Black aces, Bidvest Wits
Nickname: Mr. Safe Hands
The Cranes skipper guided the Masandawana to another ABSA premier league trophy that was his sixth despite facing stiff competition from Orlando Pirates. Out of the 30 games played, Onyango featured 17 times making 1471 minutes with two yellow cards and was a regular in the CAF Champions League where they were knocked out by Wydad Casablanca in the Semifinals.
Name: Robert Odongkara
Date of Birth: September 2nd 1989 (29 years)
Current club: Adama City, Ethiopia
Previous clubs: SC Villa, URA FC, St. George FC
He surprised many when he called it ends with Ethiopian giants St. George FC aside he served for over five years and joined Adama City at the start of the 2018/19 season. With 26 matches played so far and four games to go, Odongkara who returned into the Cranes fold for the final group L qualification match against Tanzania. He has been a mainstay in Adama’s goal who sit in 11th place on 33 points. This years’ AFCON tournament will be second successive and probably his final major tournament in Uganda Cranes.
Name: Jamal Salim Magoola
Date of birth: May 27th 1995 (24 years)
Current Club: Al Hilal Omdurman, Sudan
Previous clubs: Express FC, KCCA FC, Al Merreikh
At the start of the 2018/2019 season, the talented custodian crossed from Al Merriekh to rivals Al Hilal Omdurman and has since been a strong pillar in the goal posts featuring in 99% of the regular season matches as well as in the CAF Confederations Cup where they got eliminated in the semifinals by Tunisian side Etoile Du Sahel.
Name: Ronald Brian Ddungu Mukiibi
Date of birth: September 16th 1991 (27years)
Current Club: Ostersunds FK, Sweden
Previous clubs: Qviding FIF, Gunnilse IS, BK Hacken
Unlike last season, the lanky defender has not yet had the best of playing time in the new Allsvenskan season making 256 minutes from five games out of 11 games played where he has been deployed more as right back. This has been the case since the arrival of another Ugandan Isak Ssewankambo from Norwegian side Molde FC. It should be recalled that Mukiibi was part of the Uganda Cranes 2017 AFCON provisional squad to Gabon but was dropped in Kampala due to injury before the team flew out for training camp in Tunisia.
Name: Bevis Mugabi
Date of birth: May 1st 1995 (24years)
Current Club: Yeovil Town, England
Previous clubs: Southampton Youths, Fulham Youths
The former Southampton and Fulham Youths team player made 32 appearances out of the 46 matches for Yeovil Town in the English Football League Two despite getting relegated to the National division League (5th Div.) making 2569 minutes scoring once with one yellow card. Having earned his maiden call up under Sebastien Desabre earlier this year, he was not considered during the qualification campaign but after the horrific knee injury of versatile player Denis Iguma, he was reconsidered as Nicholas Wadada’s back up in the right-back position.
Name: Isaac Muleme
Date of birth: October 10th 1992 (26 years)
Current club: Viktoria Zizkov, Czech Republic
Previous clubs: Haras El Hodood, Alssouity SC, KCCA FC, Victoria University SC, SC Villa
Nickname: De Saint
The diminutive left-back joined the Czech Republic second-tier side on 20th February 2019 following a breach in his contract by Egyptian side Haras El Hodood and managed to make seven appearances making 605 minutes with two yellow cards and eventually help his side survive the sword. Before partying ways with Haras El Hodood, he had made eight league appearances making 661 minutes with three yellow cards.
Name: Joseph Benson Ochaya
Date of birth: December 14th 1993 (25 years)
Current Club: TP Mazembe, DRC
Previous clubs: KCCA FC, Asante Kotoko, Lusaka Dynamos
Since joining TP Mazembe from Zambian side Lusaka Dynamos late in 2018, Ochaya has been a vital player in Mazembe’s league success and continental campaign with several assists and a goal against Mont Bleu from a free kick. On average, he has featured in over 85% of TP Mazembe’s season matches both in the league and continent.
Name: Nicholas Wakiro Wadada
Date of birth: July 27th 1994 (24 years)
Current Club: Azam FC, Tanzania
Previous clubs: Vipers SC
The roving right-back has played almost in every game for Azam in his first season since joining in from Vipers SC with sublime displays and buzzing runs on the right flank. Despite failing out on the league which Simba won, he has a chance of winning the Tanzanian cup in which Azam are in the finals.
Name: Murushid Juuko
Date of birth: April 14th 1994 (25 years)
Current Club: Simba SC, Tanzania
Previous Clubs: Bunamwaya FC, Victoria University SC
Nickname: Hard Rock
The hard rock and solid defender has not got the best of playing time in Simba’s league success this season despite being ready and available for selection. The times he has been used mostly are those when there has been an injury or suspension by another defender. However, in the CAF Champions League, he has played in a number of matches against giants Al Ahly (in Egypt and Tanzania) and As Vita (in DRC) and in the Preliminary round. He is currently out of contract with Simba SC.
Name: Timothy Denis Awany
Date of birth: August 6th 1996 (22 years)
Current Club: KCCA FC, Uganda
Previous clubs: None
Like in Gabon, Awany again makes the final team with lots of hopes of getting playing time after a great season at KCCA FC guiding them to the Uganda Premier League. His command, leadership and decision making cannot be under looked.
Name: Godfrey Walusimbi
Date of birth: July 3rd 1989 (29 years)
Current club: Unattached
Previous clubs: SC Villa, Bunamwaya FC, Don Bosco, Gor Mahia, Kaizer Chiefs
Nickname: Jaaja Walu
The most capped player in the current team, Godfrey Walusimbi’s experience will be key in Egypt despite being unattached to any club after falling out with South African side Kaizer Chiefs thus terminating his contract on mutual consent.
Name: Hassan Wasswa Mawanda
Date of birth: February 14th 1988 (31 years)
Current club: Unattached
Previous clubs: KCCA FC, Saint George FC, FC Cape Town, Karabükspor, Altay S.K, Kayseri Erciyesspor, Dong Nai F.C, SC Villa, Al Shorta, El Nejmeh, El Geish
Like Walusimbi, Hassan Wasswa also fell out with his club El Geish in Egypt thus returning home. A strong pillar in the Cranes team thus his experience will be key if the Cranes are to shine in Egypt.
Name: Khalid Aucho
Date of birth: August 8th 1993
Current Club: Churchill Brothers, India
Previous clubs: JMC Hippos, Simba SC, Water FC, Tusker FC, Gor Mahia FC, Baroka FC, Red Star Belgrade, East Bengal
The hardworking midfielder last featured in a league match on March 9th, 2019 against Richard Kassaga’s Aizawl before the I-league took a long break. Out of the 20 games by the time they went into the break, Aucho had 16 appearances to his name making 1440 minutes with two goals and seven yellow cards.
Name: Farouk Miya
Date of Birth: November 26th 1997 (21 years)
Current club: HNK Gorica, Croatia
Previous clubs: Vipers SC, Standard Liege, Royal Excel Mouscron, Sebail
Miya has had his best season in a foreign land without a doubt since leaving Vipers SC in 2016 for Standard Liege and later Royal Excel Mouscron and then Sebail (all on loan from Standard Liegue) and finally a permanent move to new boys Gorica. Miya has got enough playing time that has seen him making 30 appearances out of 36 matches netting five times including a goal and two assists in the final season match away at Lokomotiva Zagreb with six yellow cards and one red card. He has indeed hit form at the very right time that is AFCON.
Name: William Luwagga Kizito
Date of birth: 20th December 1993 (25 years)
Current club: Shakhter Karagandy, Khazakstan
Previous clubs: Vipers SC, Bate Borisov, CSM Lasi, Feirense, Rio Ave, Covilha, Leixoes
Nickname: Lua Lua
Since joining in on loan from Romanian outfit CSM Lasi on 12th March 2019, Luwagga has been a mainstay in Shakter Karagandy side with ten appearances to his name out of 12 games played this season making 731 minutes with one goal and two yellow cards. He was recalled after a while and his presence and trickery will give the Cranes more options going forward.
Name: Micheal Azira
Date of birth: August 22nd 1987 (31 years)
Current club: Montreal Impact, Canada.
Previous clubs: Mississippi Brilla, Charleston Battery, Colorado Rapids, Colorado Switch Backs, Seattle Sounders
He earned his maiden Cranes call up late in 2016 in the qualifiers following impressive displays at then Collado Rapids and featured at the AFCON tournament in 2017 in Gabon and since then he never got summoned again but now he is back in the setup. At his current side Montreal Impact in the Major League Soccer, Azira has been vital playing in 14 games out of 15 so far making 1075 minutes with three yellow cards.
Name: Allan Kateregga
Date of birth: June 3rd 1994 (25 years)
Current club: Maritzburg United, South Africa
Previous clubs: SC Victoria University, Cape Town city FC, KCCA FC, AFC Leopards, Tusker FC, KRA FC
Nickname: The Dancing Rasta
Following limited playing time at Cape Town City FC, the Dancing Rasta as popularly known requested for a loan move to Maritzburg which he was granted and indeed he never disappointed as he featured in eight games making 461 minutes netting twice against Bloemfontein Celtic. He also guided Maritzburg that spent the most time on the bottom to the relegation playoffs with high chances of remaining in the top tier. At Cape Town City this year, he had made seven appearances making 295 minutes with one goal.
Name: Taddeo Lwanga
Date of Birth: May 21st 1994 (25 years)
Current club: Vipers SC
Previous clubs: Express FC, SC Villa
Surprised by many for making the final team but the Vipers SC skipper workaholic and party spoiling tactics in the middle of the middle of the pack is undoubted perhaps the reason why head coach Sebastien Desabre went for him.
Name: Derrick Paul Nsibambi
Date of Birth: June 19th 1994 (24 years)
Current club: Smouha SC, Egypt
Previous clubs: KCCA FC
Struggled at the start of the season after joining Smouha SC from KCCA FC as he was continuously played out of position but with the acquisition of Egyptian legend Hossam Hassan from Al Masry as head coach, he was drafted back in his favorite position as forward and has since netted thrice. Out of the 33 games this season, Nsibambi has made 24 appearances making 1635 minutes with three yellow cards.
Name: Emmanuel Arnold Okwi
Date of birth: December 25th 1992 (26 years)
Current club: Simba SC, Tanzania
Previous clubs: SC Villa, Yanga African, Etolile Du Sahel, Sonderjyske FC
Many people forget that Okwi was not part of the Cranes team in the last AFCON edition in Gabon due to injury but he is now available and ready to make history. At Simba this season, he has netted vital goals that have helped them defend the championship and also in the CAF Champions league where Simba reached the quarterfinals on their maiden attempt. Without a doubt, Okwi had a big hand in this success.
Name: Allan Kyambadde
Date of birth: January 15th 1996 (23 years)
Current Club: KCCA FC, Uganda
Previous clubs: Vipers SC, Express FC, SC Villa
National team caps: 14
One of the four local-based players on the team and very lucky to make the final team I must say after the injuries made it impossible for Swedish based forward Alexis Bakka and stylish midfielder Moses Waiswa. Kyambadde’s talent has never been doubted given his strength, dribbles, powerful short and eye for goal although.
Name: Abdul Lumala
Date of birth: July 21st 1997 (21 years)
Current club: Syrianska, Sweden
Previous club: Varnamo, Helsingborg, Varberg, Mjallby, Kalmar FF
National team caps: Two
Known by many Ugandans as Ssali Chance Lumalinho, Lumala is blessed with pace, electrifying dribbles, and intelligence on the ball. Formerly at Old Kampala SS and St. Mary’s SS Kitende, Lumala currently plies his trade at Syrianska in the Suprettan league (2nd tier) with nine appearances onto his name from 10 games so far making 706 minutes with one goal and 2 yellow cards.
Name: Patrick Henry Kaddu
Date of birth: September 10th 1995 (23years)
Current Club: KCCA FC, Uganda
Previous clubs: Kira United, Maroons FC
One of the most trusted soldiers of coach Sebastien Desabre, Kaddu’s aerial prowess is without a doubt a joy to watch and at AFCON it is yet another platform to confirm his status thus proving his doubters wrong.