Up to now, the Uganda Cranes have not performed well at the African Nations Championship (CHAN), despite taking part at four of the five tournaments.
The Cranes have not gone past the group stages on each of the four occasions they have been involved.
However, it has been a huge showcasing platform for a number of players who have reaped big from playing and excelling at the tournament.
On that note therefore, Football256’s Brian Aheebwa has singled out the Cranes players who have made big transfers after dominant performances at CHAN.
As Uganda endured a disappointing maiden appearance at CHAN in 2011 in Sudan, where they lost all their three group stage games, Mike Mutyaba impressed individually.
And the 29-year-old was spotted by Sudan’s El-Merrickh who acquired his signature after the tournament from Ugandan giants Vipers SC, then Bunamwaya FC.
He spent two years in Sudan and later joined another African giant side in TP Mazembe in DR Congo. He returned to Uganda in 2014 joining his former club Vipers.
In 2015 he left for Express FC and in 2018 Mutyaba played for KCCA FC, retiring at the end of the 2019/20 season, pulling out of the Cranes camp that was preparing for CHAN after suffering heart complications.
Since CHAN is exclusive to players playing in their respective national leagues with the objective of showcasing their talent, Ssentamu did exactly that at the 2014 edition in South Africa.
Ssentamu scored three goals singlehandedly as Uganda registered a win, a draw and a loss at the 2014 CHAN.
He was on target twice in a 2-1 win against Burkina Faso – Uganda’s last win at the tournament – and once in a 3-1 loss to Morocco while the other group game ended in a goalless stalemate with Zimbabwe.
Although Uganda was third in Group B after accumulating four points unlike in the previous edition where they were pointless. Again the Cranes could not go past the group stages but Ssentamu surely left a mark in Zulu land.
A player at Vipers then, the striker landed a deal with Congolese side AS Vita immediately after properly showcasing at the 2014 CHAN tournament.
From Vita, Ssentamu would later play for CS Sfaxien in Algeria. He also had stints at IIves Tampere in Finland and KF Tirana in Albania but currently he is without a club.
Miya is arguably Uganda’s best player of his generation and the African Nations Championship has played a part in his development.
The 22-year-old who was plying trade locally with Vipers had a good show at the 2016 tournament and that marked the end of his time at Kitende with an opportunity in Belgium presenting itself.
Standard Liege who had already made contact with Vipers before the tournament was one of the top clubs in the hunt for Miya. Despite an initial understanding, Liege stalled negotiations for the forward until after the end of the tournament.
After a strong performance at CHAN, Miya completed a reported USD 400,000 to the Belgian club despite interest from Redbull Salsburg.
It didn’t work out as much for the midfielder at Liege, finding himself on the fringes of the first team, he was loaned out oto Royal Muscron, FK Sabail in Azerbaijan and Croatia’s HNK Gorica.
After three years in Belgium, Miya was shipped off to Turkey joining Konyaspor in the Turkish Super League, a side he has been with since the 2019/2020 season to date.
Uganda has had a pool of players that had a good show at the 2018 edition hence landing deals to different clubs across Africa, despite another dismal performance.
But Nsibambi took the plaudits amidst another disappointment, scoring Uganda’s only goal at the tournament in a 3-1 loss to Zambia.
Before the tournament, Nsibambi was featuring for local side KCCA FC but after inspiring a number of scouts from various clubs at CHAN, he moved abroad to join Smouha SC in Egypt which is his club to date.
With the above players and more others reaping from playing at CHAN, we wait to see which other bunch of Uganda Cranes players will yield from playing at the 2020 edition. ‘
Uganda is pooled in Group C of the 2020 CHAN, and face Rwanda, tournament debutants Togo and defending champions Morocco.