CHAN 2020: ‘Cranes have a great opportunity to do more’ – Lwaliwa

Uganda Cranes have the best opportunity to re-write history by putting on a better performance at the African Nations Championships (CHAN) believes the side’s captain Halid Lwaliwa.

Uganda has taken part in four of the five CHAN tournaments, but have not progressed beyond the group stages in each of their four appearances.

Uganda’s dismal performance in their first adventure at CHAN in 2011 was followed by a promising campaign in 2014, finishing third, a point off the qualifying places.

But the next two tournaments in 2016 and 2018 were disappointing as the Cranes failed to win a game in both editions.

However, successive disappointments have led to a drooping exciting around the Cranes. But impressive displays in the pre-CHAN tournament could propel Uganda to their first knock-out appearance at the CHAN.

“We have an opportunity to do more in this tournament after four times failing to advance from the group,” Lwaliwa who will captain his national side at the tournament told the Daily Monitor.

“So, this time we want to do our best to change that and even go further. As for me, captaining a team where there are even other senior players encourages me a lot.”

“But it’s the experience and learning from these experienced players that adds a lot to me.”

“As players, we have our own goals both as a team and individually. Every one of us is seeing an opportunity to use this CHAN to market ourselves if we perform well,” he added.

The Cranes were drawn in Group C and will face a tough challenge in their quest for a knock-out place in a group that includes defending champions Morocco.

Neighbours Rwanda who reached the tournament’s quarter-finals in 2016 under current Cranes coach Johnathan McKinstry and minnows Togo who will be making their CHAN debut are the other opponents in the group.

The Cranes get its campaign underway on Monday, January 18 against Rwanda at the Stade de la Reunification in Douala before they face Togo on January 22.

They will play Morocco in their final group game on January 26 and will hope that they will have accumulated enough points to jump over the first hurdle.

Uganda Cranes CHAN Squad

Goalkeepers: Charles Lukwago, Joel Mutakubwa, Nafian Alionzi, Tom Ikara

Defenders: Eric Ssenjobe, Aziz Kayondo, Paul Willa, Denis Iguma, Halid Lwaliwa, Mustafa Mujuzi, Patrick Mbowa, Hassan Muhammad

Midfielders: Shafiq Kagimu, Tony Mawejje, Bobosi Byaruhanga, Karim Watambala, Saidi Kyeyune, Bright Anukani

Forwards: Ben Ocen, Brian Aheebwa, Vianne Ssekajugo, Joachim Ojera, Milton Karisa, Ibrahim Orit, Mohammad Shaban

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