By Baron Kironde
Uganda Sand Cranes player Ronald Magwali has shifted his focus to league football after the national beach soccer team was knocked out of the Africa Cup of Nations tournament in Senegal.
Uganda, in the tournament that kicked off on May 23, fell to hosts Senegal on the opening day losing 5-1.
The Sand Cranes fought back with a 4-3 win against neighbours Tanzania, before losing the last group game 6-3 to Mozambique in the semi-finals and now only await the third playoff.
“I am greatly honoured to represent Uganda, but I came here knowing the tournament would be done by end of May and I would have to travel back to help my team back in Mbale,” Magwali said.
“I know things are not going down so well in Mbale at the moment, but I want to play every game at my best to help the team perform better.”
Magwali’s initial plan at the start of the season was to help gain Mbale Heroes promotion to the StarTimes Uganda Premier League (UPL), but the goal has become unattainable.
Mbale Heroes has had a string of poor results, and now Magwali’s contribution can only be of help in the Surgeons’ battle against relegation. Mbale Heroes’ last time out was disastrous as they lost to soaring Arua Hill SC, with two men less.
Heroes’ captain Jamal Buchochera was given a red card in the 57th minute after getting two cards in a space of five minutes.
While goalkeeper Hilbert Hatimu was also sent off in the 84th minute for a brutal tackle on Arua Hill defender Brian Ade.
Mbale Heroes now lie sixth on the table with 12 points from 11 games, just two points behind seventh placed Maroons, who have played one game less. Heroes will drop to the relegation zone if Maroons defeat Calvary on June 3 at the Prison grounds.
Magwali’s rejuvenation process might take longer than he planned after a forgettable 2019/20 season at Villa in the UPL, flawed by injuries. His move to Mbale Heroes was part of the plan for a comeback.