Uganda Hippos head coach Jackson Mayanja summoned an initial 50-man squad ahead of the 2023 U20 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt.
As the tournament draws near, the squad is starting to take shape and the number has been trimmed to 30 as of Monday.
Over 18 players have been dropped for either injury or other reasons. Andrew Kawooya, Ivan Asaba, and Ibrahim Kasinde who play for StarTimes Uganda Premier League sides KCCA FC, Vipers SC, and Soltilo Bright Stars FC are some of the notable names who didn’t make the grade.
Kawooya and Asaba were part of the Hippos team that reached the final in Mauritania in 2021.
More players are expected to be cut off as those who are foreign-based are yet to link up with the rest of the team.
The Hippos were on Monday joined by two attacking midfielders Travis Mutyaba and Titus Ssematimba who were with the Uganda Cranes at the African Nations Championship (CHAN) in Algeria.
Mayanja’s charges have had a series of friendly games in Jinja and they also conducted another with KCCA FC at the MTN Omondi Stadium, Lugogo which they won 2-1 on Tuesday.
Charles Lwanga gave KCCA the lead before the Hippos came from a goal down thanks to John Paul Ddembe and Umar Lutalo’s goals.
The Hippos are pooled in Group B alongside South Sudan, Congo, and Central African Republic and will kick start their tourney against the latter on February 20th.
At their maiden AFCON tournament two years ago in Mauritania, they reached the final before losing 2-0 to Ghana.
Then, both teams and the two semifinalists qualified for the U20 FIFA World Cup but it was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Hippos will be hoping to at least reach the semifinals once again to book that World Cup ticket to Indonesia later this year.
To return for their second straight AFCON, Uganda defended their CECAFA crown in Sudan.
Hippos Current squad
Goalkeepers: Abdu Magada (Gaddafi FC), Shamulan Kamya (Soltilo Bright Stars FC), Venacious Nsumba (Wakiso Giants FC), Delton Oyo (SC Villa)
Defenders: Haruna Lukwago (KCCA FC), Justine Opiro(URA FC)Samson Kasozi (UPDF FC), Ronald Madoi (Wakiso Giants FC), Apollo Kakogwe (Wakiso Giants FC), Rogers Torach (Vipers SC), Umar Lutalo (SC Villa), Simon Mukisa (UPDF FC), Kiano Kitariko (Kedleston Road, Derby Campus, UK), Pius Ssebulime (KCCA FC)
Midfielders: Saidi Mayanja (KCCA FC), Frank Katongole (St. Mary’s, Kitende), Abdu Shakur Ramsey Jemba(International House Football Academy, Manchester), Titus Ssematimba (Wakiso Giants FC), Travis Mutyaba (SC Villa), Faisal Wabyoona (KCCA FC), Hakim Mutebi (St. Mary’s Kitende), Hassan Mutaasa.
Forwards: Rogers Mugisha (UPDF FC), Patrick Jonah Kakande(SC Villa), Hassan Mubiru (Express FC), Issa Bugembe (Soltilo Bright Stars FC), Shafiq Magogo (UPDF FC), John Paul Ddembe(KCCA FC U20), Shaun Senkubuge Kato (Tottenham Hotspur FC), Alpha Ssali (Unattached)