Muhamad Shaban’s further involvement in Uganda Cranes’ preparations for the upcoming African Nations Championships (CHAN) has been dealt with serious doubt after he suffered an injury scare during training.
The Vipers SC striker limped off after feeling some tightness in his thigh during the evening training session on Wednesday, which makes him doubtful especially for the pre-CHAN mini tournament that gets underway next week.
Cranes coach Johnathan McKinstry will be hoping that the grade of the hamstring injury is not as serious as feared and that the striker can return after a couple of days in rehabilitation.
The former KCCA and Onduparaka striker managed to walk on his own after training, but further assessment by the team physio should better explain the extent of the injury.
Shaban is one of -if not – the best striker in the Uganda Premier League and his importance to the Cranes in a tournament like CHAN cannot be stated enough.
However, the strike has become increasingly injury prone and has just returned from a serious knee injury that kept him out for close to 18 months that also required surgery.
He marked his return to action with a goal against Wakiso Giants and was heavily involved in Vipers’ 5-2 victory over Busoga United, assisting AbdulKarim Watambala’s goal.
Should the injury rule him out of CHAN, Shaban’s role in attack could be taken up by Steven Mukwala who topped scoring charts last season at Maroons and has hit the ground running scoring three goals in five games at URA this season.
Ben Ocen is also part of the squad in camp and has been influential for Police again scoring five goals in five games including a hattrick against Kitara FC.
KCCA’s Brian Aheebwa is also expected to be summoned as part of the KCCA players who will join the squad in January. The striker is the hottest forward in the country and was part of Cranes’ squad for the South Sudan game in November.
The Cranes CHAN team will continue their preparations with double training sessions throughout the week before they fly out for a pre-CHAN mini tournament in Cameroon at the end of December.
The mini-tournament will feature Niger, Zambia, Uganda and hosts Cameroon and will be played between January 1-7 in Yaoundé.
Uganda is drawn in group B alongside neighbours Rwanda, Togo and defending champions Morocco.
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)