The anxiety is over. The disquiet from both the players and coaches that saw Cranes boss Sebastien Desabre go past his scheduled date for announcing the final 23 players to represent Uganda at this year’s Nations Cup finals is done with, and now onto another level of business.
Three more got their news of disappointment yesterday, joining midfielder Moses Waiswa, who got an injury heartbreak last week after doctors confirmed his knee could not last him the distance in Egypt. Sadam Juma, Krizestom Ntambi and Sweden-based forward Alexis Bakka were the heartbroken players as the final 23 that include newbies Allan Kateregga, Bevis Mugabi, Allan Kyambadde and Abdu Lumala among others were submitted to Caf yesterday.
Sadam on standby
KCCA midfielder Sadam will, however, remain in camp in Abu Dhabi training with the rest of the players “just in case of any eventualities before the tournament starts” according to Fufa spokesperson Ahmed Hussein. Skipper Denis Onyango continues to lead from the back, with experienced but unattached Hassan Wasswa, Godfrey Walusimbi, Kizito Luwagga and Khalid Aucho offering the needed know-how from deep. Faruku Miya, Uganda’s top scorer in the last two qualifying campaigns and scorer of Cranes only goal at Gabon 2017, and Emmanuel Okwi - who will be making his Nations Cup debut, will offer Patrick Kaddu the guidance upfront. Egypt-based Derrick Nsibambi could offer some insights on the Pharaohs.
“We had a meeting with my staff and those (final squad) are the important ones and it is a chance for them to represent the country,” said Desabre, who qualified the country with a match to spare, “Every player is important and I think we shall be ready for the first game.”
This squad will get their final test ahead of Afcon finals this Saturday in the UAE when they face 2015 winners Ivory Coast in a friendly that could inform Desabre’s line-up against DRC in the opening match at Cairo International Stadium June 22.
Uganda, who ended their four-decade Nations Cup absence with a group stage finish in Gabon two years ago, will arrive in Cairo on June 17 before facing DRC five days later.Zimbabwe, who open Group A campaign against hosts Egypt on June 21, are next for Cranes before Uganda wrap the pool assignment against the Pharaohs four days later.
2019 TOTAL AFRICA CUP OF NATIONS
Cranes Afcon fixtures
June 22: Uganda vs. DR Congo,
June 26: Uganda vs. Zimbabwe,
June 30: Egypt vs. Uganda,
UAE camp (May 27-June 17)
June 15: Cranes vs. Ivory Coast
UGANDA CRANES SQUAF FOR AFCON
Denis Onyango (18), Jamal Salim Magoola
(19), Robert Odongkara (1), Murushid
Jjuuko (4), Bevis Mugabi (5), Isaac
Muleme (20), Hassan Wasswa Mawanda
(16), Wakiro Nico Wadada (14), Joseph
Benson Ochaya (2), Timothy Denis Awany
(3), Godfrey Walusimbi (15), Ronald
Mukiibi (12), William Kizito Luwagga
(10), Khalid Aucho (8), Mike Azira (23),
Faruku Miya (17), Tadeo Lwanga (6),
Allan Kateregga (13), Lumala Abdu (22),
Emmanuel Arnold Okwi (7), Patrick Henry
Kaddu (9), Derrick Nsibambi (11) and Allan
***in bracket are shirt numbers***
Dropped: Sadam Juma, Alexis Bakka,