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Uganda’s 2016 CHAN squad: Where are they now?

By Football256 Team
Courtesy photo

Uganda qualified for a third consecutive African Nations Championship (CHAN) in 2016 and they were desperate to improve on their previous dismal performances.

This time around, they were placed in group D alongside Zambia, Mali and Zimbabwe. However, all the Cranes managed was finishing third with just two points.

They drew 2-2 against Mali, lost 1-0 against Zambia before a one-all stalemate against Zimbabwe in the last game.

In this article, Football256’s Herman Nnyanzi has brought you the whereabouts of the squad that represented Uganda at the tournament.

Mathias Kigonya

The stout but agile goalkeeper who is very adept to executing Beckham-like free kicks is currently on verge of joining Tanzanian Premier League side Azam FC.

But ahead of the 2014 CHAN, Kigonya was playing for Bright Stars.

Elsewhere, he played for Sofapaka FC, Kakamega Homeboys   and Forest Rangers in Zambia.

Ismail Watenga

A second of three CHAN appearances for the goalkeeper who currently play for Premier Soccer League side Chippa United in South Africa.

Watenga who was playing at Vipers SC was undoubtedly Uganda’s first choice goalkeeper at the time of the tournament.

He left Vipers in 2018 after rejecting a contract extension with his boyhood club to join Ethiopian Coffee Sports Club before a move to Sofapaka FC.

Watenga was also part of the 2014 and 2018 Uganda Cranes CHAN squads.

James Alitho

Watenga’s deputy at club level had impressed head coach Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojevic who included him on the Cranes final squad for the 2014 CHAN.

Alitho continued at Vipers after Watenga left, but he was also out of the club soon, joining URA FC.

After an impressive season with the Tax Collectors winning the 2018/19 UPL Golden Glove, Alitho moved to Zambia’s Zanaco.

Denis Oola Okot

Okot was playing for KCCA FC at the time and captained the club to their first qualification to the CAF Champions League group stages and also back-to-back league titles.

But he was soon shown the exit after a fall out with head coach Mike Mutebi, joining his home town club Onduparaka FC before again moving to current club BUL FC.

Joseph Ochaya

The marauding left-back is currently on the books of TP Mazembe in DR Congo. By the time of the tournament, he was playing for KCCA FC before a move to Lusaka Dynamos in Zambia.

Ochaya played at both the 2017 and 2019 AFCON finals for the Cranes and has amassed 46 appearances for the national team.

Joseph Nsubuga

Nsubuga impressed not only Micho, but the whole nation was captivated by his ability up and down the right flank especially for his club Bright Stars.

A move to SC Villa materialised for the defender after the tournament, but he has since struggled for game time with recurring knee and ankle injuries keeping him out for long.

However, the club has kept faith in the defender, and handed him a new two-year contract in July 2020 with the hope of finding consistent fitness.

Richard Kasagga

Kasagga who was also part of the 2014 squad was playing for URA FC by then. He left URA FC in 2018 and joined Aizawl FC in India where he is currently.

Bernard Muwanga

Muwanga had set himself up as a superb leader at Bright Stars and was handed the arm band for the 2016 CHAN.

The Kawempe-born defender then earned a move to SC Villa and nearly led them to their 17th league title in 2017. From Villa, Muwanga joined KCCA and was never fancied by Mutebi and soon he was sent packing from Lugogo, joining Proline.

He made a return to Bright Stars in January 2020 on loan from Proline, helping the club survive relegation.

Hassan Wasswa

The then Vipers SC player, went on to play for Al-Nejmeh in Lebanon, Al Gaish in Egypt and Jeddah Club in Saudi Arabia.

He was part of the 2017 and 2019 Uganda’s AFCON squads. He is currently unattached to any club.

Isaac Muleme

Muleme who was also part of the 2014 squad was playing for SC Villa at the time.

The left-back went on to feature for SC Villa, KCCA FC, Pyramids FC and El Hodoud SC in Egypt.

He is currently playing for FK Viktoria Žižkov in Czech Republic via a brief loan at FC Nitra in Slovakia.

Muleme was part of the Uganda Cranes squad that reached the knockout rounds at the 2019 AFCON in Egypt.

Timothy Awany

Awany was still steadily making a name for himself at the time playing for KCCA FC.

CHAN was perhaps an experience that helped him grow into the best defender in the Ugandan top flight by the time he made a transfer to FC Ashdod in Israel for a reported USD 200,000 in 2019.

Awany returned a formidable force for the 2018 CHAN, and from there, he was included on the Cranes squad for the 2019 AFCON in Egypt.

At club level, Awany won three league titles for KCCA and played a pivotal role as KCCA reached the group stages of the CAF Confederations Cup and the Champions League.

Keziron Kizito

A Vipers SC player by then, Kizito went on to play for AFC Leopards in Kenya, Kerala Blasters in India before returning to KCCA FC where he is currently playing.

Muzamir Mutyaba

Perhaps the hottest property on the 2016 CHAN team. Mutyaba was a creative force for KCCA FC at the time, but despite winning the FUFA Player of the year in 2017, he never really lived up to his best.

Mutyaba stayed at Lugogo for five years, playing at the 2018 CHAN tournament and also featuring in the qualifiers for the 2020 CHAN finals.

Following the expiry of his contract with KCCA at the end of the 2019/20 season, Mutyaba was released by the club and is yet to find a new club.

Erisa Ssekisambu

The pacey forward was playing for Vipers SC until 2018 when he joined Gor Mahia. He spent last season at KCCA FC before joining Tarxien Rainbows FC in Malta in January 2021.

Ivan Ntege

Another player who was maintained from the 2014 squad. Ntege was playing for KCCA FC by the time of the tournament.

He left KCCA for Botswana’s Township Rollers in 2017 but returned to Uganda in 2019 joining URA FC where he is currently.

Ambrose Kirya

Playing at SC Villa at the time of the tournament, Kirya’s career has seen highs and lows since the 2016 CHAN tournament.

Injuries have played a large part in side-lining him during his time at Villa, but nevertheless, he still showed a touch of his true quality especially during the 2019/20 season.

Kirya ended his marriage with Villa deciding to return to his hometown club BUL FC at the start of the 2020/21 season.

Martin Kizza

Kizza was sent packing at KCCA shortly after Mutebi had been named KCCA head coach. Despite having tremendous quality and potential, Kizza still had a lot of proving to do.

But at SC Villa, he rejuvenated himself and earned himself a place in the 2016 squad.

From SC Villa, Kizza went on to play for Free State Stars in South Africa, Express FC and Royal Eagles FC in South Africa where he is currently.

Francis Olaki

Olaki had won the Uganda Premier League top scorer award in 2014 and played at the 2014 CHAN.

He was maintained on the CHAN squad for the 2016 tournament after re-finding a bit of his former self after returning to Soana FC following a torrid time at KCCA FC.

Olaki went on to play for Extension Gunners FC in Botswana. His whereabouts are currently unknown.

Caeser Samson Okhuti

Okhuti was playing for Express FC at the time. He went on to play for KCCA FC before joining Onduparaka FC where he is currently.

Frank Kalanda

Kalanda is currently playing for Express FC. By the time of the tournament, he was playing for URA FC. He also had stints at Soana FC and Rwanda’s AS Kigali.

Geoffrey Sserunkuuma

The experienced striker was playing for Lweza FC by the time.

He went on to play for KCCA FC, Buildcon FC, Napsa Stars FC in Zambia and Wakiso Giants FC. He is currently a free agent.

Robert Ssentongo

Ssentongo was playing for URA FC by the time before going on to play for KCCA FC, Fasil Kenema in Ethiopia and Sunrise in Rwanda. He is currently playing for Kyetume FC.

Farouk Miya

The star of the 2016 squad. Miya had set the league alight for Vipers SC by the time of the tournament and had even broken into the Cranes senior team.

He was being chased by Belgian club Standard Liege who stalled negotiations with Vipers to allow him play at the 2016 tournament.

After the tournament, Miya sealed a USD 400,000 transfer to the Belgium top division club – the highest transfer fee paid for a played in the local league.

It was not all rosy in Belgium for the forward as he was sent out to loan spells at Royal Excel Mouscron, FK Sabail and HNK Gorica before he permanently moved to Turkish club Konyaspor in 2019.

Miya has rejuvenated himself at Konyaspor, and finished as the club’s top scorer during the 2019/20 season.

At national level, Miya has played 56 times for the Cranes and scored the goal that sealed Uganda’s qualification for the 2017 AFCON and end a 39-year wait.

He also scored Uganda’s first goal at the AFCON since 1978. Miya represented Uganda at the 2019 AFCON finals in Egypt.

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