Two against, and only one for, in two build-up matches is a stat that will have Cranes coach Sebastien Desabre reflect hard ahead of Sunday’s opener against Zambia in the 2018 Morocco Africa Nations Championship (Chan).
The Cranes fell 1-0 to Congo in their final warm-up match in Rabat, a game that also saw midfielder and defender Tom Masiko and Mustapha Kizza miss the final 23-man squad to take on the mantle in Marrakech.
This was the second time Uganda’s backline was conceding, the first coming in the 1-1 draw with Guinea last Saturday.
Coaches will always tell you the foundation starts from the back going forward, and Uganda will need all those ingredients going into their fourth straight Chan. But it is upfront they direly need a variety of ideas and efficiency if they are to progress from the group for the first time since 2011, when they debuted in this domestic-based players tournament. Strikers Derrick Nsibambi, Nelson Senkatuka, Muhammad Shaban and Milton Karisa, with the creative cast of Saddam Juma, Allan Kyambadde and Muzamir Mutyaba will have to stretch their limits if the trend is to change for the better.
“I need to first evaluate my players,” said Sebastien when he arrived to take over the Cranes helm in December. He, sure, must already have done that after a number of training sessions and two build-up matches.
“I know the Zambian team as well as Ivory Coast. They are strong opponents. I am going to check out Namibia and thereafter prepare my team very well.”
The Cranes leave Rabat for Marrakech, where they will be based for their group matches, today.
Uganda open against Zambia on Sunday before facing Namibia and Ivory Coast to complete Group B matches.

Final squad

I. Watenga, B. Ochan, S. Keni, N. Wakiro Wadada, J. Nsubuga, T. Awanyi, M. Mujuzi, B. Muwanga, I. Muleme, A. Madoi, M. Karisa, P. Mucureezi, A. Kyambadde, S. Batte, R. Senfuka, L. Taddeo, A. Kasule, M. Waisswa, S. Juma, M. Mutyaba, M. Shaban, D. Nsibambi, N. Senkatuka