Uganda Cranes coach Johnathan McKinstry believes competitions like the upcoming African Nations Championships (CHAN) provide a perfect proving ground for younger players.
Vipers duo Bobosi Byaruhanga and Aziz Kayondo plus Ivan Bogere who emerged top scorer at the CECAFA U20 Championship received their maiden call ups to the senior team as part of the provisional Cranes CHAN squad.
All three have featured heavily at youth level and were part of the Uganda U20 squad that won the CECAFA U20 Championship and also sealed qualification for AFCON U20 from the zonal qualifiers.
Kayondo established himself as one of the finest left-backs in the Uganda Premier League last season at Vipers.
Bobosi has impressed immensely in his debut UPL campaign for Vipers after he was promoted from the club’s youth set up. While Bogere was among Proline’s standout players in their maiden CAF Confederations Cup campaign.
The young striker scored a hattrick as Proline reached the playoff round of the Confederations Cup. He was also instrumental as Proline secured promotion to the top flight,winning the FUFA Big League golden boot with 14 goals.
“The squad includes three of the outstanding players from the Uganda U20 successful trip to Tanzania where they qualified for the U20 AFCON,” McKinstry told media.
“We felt that it was important that the top U20 players would be given their opportunity to shine on the CHAN team because that is what CHAN is all about,” he added.
McKinstry said: “It is ultimately about young players gaining that exposure, showing their talents to the world and potentially launching successful careers for themselves.”
“Having held conversations with the U20 national team coaches and considering the needs of the CHAN team, we felt that Kayondo, Bobosi and Bogere were in the perfect position to get their chance.”
“It should give encouragement for other boys in the youth national teams that if they perform and continue to progress, they will also get the chance to compete with their senior brothers in the senior team.”
“We have demonstrated that if you are a top performer in the CHAN team, you will get your opportunity to perform in the senior Cranes team in the AFCON and World Cup qualifiers,” he said.
McKinstry summoned a 28-man squad that will get preparations for the CHAN tournament underway on Monday.
The provisional squad also includes three uncapped players with a possibility of having their first international involvement.
Police FC defender Muhamood Hassan earned his first Cranes call up following dominant performances for the Cops. Teammate Eric Ssenjobe and BUL FC forward Joseph Ssemujju are the others.
Up to 15 players retained their places on the squad from the one that was summoned for the initial preparations in March 2020 before the tournament was called off following the outbreak of the coronavirus.
Halid Lwaliwa, Mustafa Mujuzi, Paul Willa, goalkeepers Alionzi Nafian and Joel Mutakubwa are some of the names that have been retained.
The others include; Hassan Ssenyonjo, Derrick Ndahiro, Ashraf Mandela, Patrick Mbowa, Shafiq Kagimu, Karim Watambala, Saidi Kyeyune, Ibrahim Orit, Vianne Ssekajugo, Joachim Ojera, Milton Karisa, Steven Mukwala.
The Provisional CHAN Squad
Goalkeepers: Joel Mutakubwa (Kyetume), Nafian Alionzi (URA), Tom Ikara (Police)
Defenders: Eric Ssenjobe (Police), Aziz Kayondo (Vipers), Derrick Ndahiro (SC Villa), Paul Willa (Vipers), Ashraf Mandela (URA), Halid Lwaliwa (Vipers), Mustafa Mujuzi (Kyetume), Patrick Mbowa (URA), Murushid Juuko (Express), Muhamood Hassan (Police)
Midfielders: Shafiq Kagimu (URA), Tony Mawejje (Police), Bobosi Byaruhanga (Vipers), Karim Watambala (Vipers), Saidi Kyeyune (URA), Hassan Ssenyonjo (Wakiso Giants)
Forwards: Ben Ocen (Police), Ibrahim Orit (Vipers), Vianne Ssekajugo (Wakiso Giants), Joseph Ssemujju (BUL), Joachim Ojera (URA), Milton Karisa (Vipers), Stephen Mukwala (URA), Mohamed Shaban (Vipers), Ivan Bogere (Proline)