South Africa vs Uganda: Watenga starts first Cranes game in six years

Goalkeeper Ismail Watenga has been handed his first start for the Uganda Cranes in the international friendly against South Africa as Uganda gets a deliberate rebuild process underway on Thursday.

With former captain and goalkeeper Denis Onyango retiring, Watenga has been handed the opportunity to start in goal.

The goalkeeper returns to the Cranes fold after four years since he was part of the squad that played against DR Congo in November 2017 and starts his first game since 2014.

With Mubiru eager to look at as many options as possible ahead of the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers in September, a couple of new faces have been given an opportunity to impress at the Orlando Stadium.

Mubiru has made a few changes to the Cranes side which lost to Malawi in the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers in March, with Vipers SC’s Paul Willa given a chance to make the step up at right back.

Willa will play alongside Halid Lwaliwa and Murushid Juuko who partner at the centre of defence, while Mustafa Kizza makes the obvious start at left back.  

Taddeo Lwanga impressed in his previous outings for both club and country, and can prove that he is deserving a chance to be a mainstay in the Cranes line up.

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Lwanga starts alongside Moses Waiswa at the base of the midfield with Paradou SC midfielder Allan Okello starting ahead of them in the No. 10 role.

Emmanuel Okwi will lead the Cranes out for the first time as captain after replacing Onyango. The Cranes’ record scorer starts at the centre of a three-man attack that has Shafik Kagimu and Ibrahim Orit on either flank.

Uganda Cranes XI: Ismail Watenga (Gk), Paul Willa, Halid Lwaliwa, Murushid Juuko, Mustafa Kizza, Moses Waiswa, Taddeo Lwanga, Allan Okello, Shafik Kagimu Ibrahim Orit, Emmanuel Okwi (C)

Subs: Mathias Kigonya, Charles Lukwago, Patrick Paul Mbowa, Enock Walusimbi, Aziz Kayondo, Hassan Muhamood, Bobosi Byaruhanga, Abdu Lumala, Isma Mugulusi, Steven Sserwadda, Derrick Kakooza, Steven Mukwaala

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