Sebastien Desabre is facing criticism from local coaches and fans over his decision to snub in-form Uganda premier league players –especially top scorers every time he names the national team. The Uganda Cranes head coach named his 24-man final squad to camp in Egypt ahead of the TOTAL AFCON 2019 group L qualifier away to Tanzania next Sunday. Ten (local based) players were confirmed after the team’s 4-0 win over Kampala region select on Saturday at the Star Times Stadium, Lugogo. From the Uganda premier league scorers, Desabre went for the 5th top scorer, Patrick Kaddu at the expense of the top four. Kaddu’s goal in Cranes’ 1-0 home win at Cape Verde last November which sealed Uganda’s ticket to AFCON Egypt 2019 could have been the basis of his inclusion. But also, he has nine league goals so far in the season. In the best form of his career, the odds were high for Police FC’s midfielder Juma Balinya to make the final team. Balinya has impressively 16 league goals this season as the current top scorer, coupled with a number of assists. SC Villa’s Bashisr Mutanda, Joel Madondo (Kirinya Jinja SSS) and Dan Sserunkuma (SC Vipers) follow Balinya with 13, 12 and 11 goals respectively but none of them made the cut. Surprisingly, two players without clubs are on the team and this has lived a disappointing trend in the Cranes set-up. Former Express and Masavu FC head coach Alex Ggita believes that leaving out local top scorers and going for clubless players does not only de-motivate local players, but also shows how Desabre despises our top league. “To my surprise is the basis on which they consider a player currently without a club he is playing for and leave active players,” noted an open-minded Ggita. Ahead of Lesotho tie at home in similar competition in October, Desabre snubbed in form Allan Okello and Nelson Sekantuka –with the latter leading top tier scorers then. Whereas KCCA FC’s youngster Allan Okello and team mate Sadam Juma, who was returning from injury made the cut, Sserunkuma looks to be a true definition of ‘beautiful but unlucky’ saying. The Vipers SC striker netted twice as Cranes beat Kampala regional select side on Saturday before Allan Okello and substitute Bright Anukani adding the one each –with all the match goals coming after the break. The local-based team comprising of Timothy Awany (KCCA), Halid Lwaliwa (Vipers), Godfrey Walusimbi (Free Agent), Hassan Wasswa Mawanda (Free Agent), Tadeo Lwanga (Vipers), Ibrahim Sadam Juma (KCCA), Moses Waiswa (Vipers), Allan Kyambadde (KCCA), Allan Okello and Henry Patrick Kaddu (KCCA) departed yesterday (Sunday) evening aboard Ethiopian Airlines and these will join the 14 foreign based players in Egypt as the team prepares for the final AFCON Egypt 2019 qualifier game in Dar es salaam next weekend. “We had a good trial match against Kampala Region. It summarized the week of training we had with the players who are home based. It was a great match we tested the players before flying out to Egypt for the final training camp in Ismaily, Egypt. We expect the other players to join us there and we shall play a trial game with a local club in Egypt on Wednesday for final preparations,” Desabre noted, saying that the players who did not make the cut are still very important in the set up for the future engagements.
The final Cranes team:
Goalkeepers: Denis Onyango (Mamelodi Sundowns, South Africa), Salim Magola (Al Hilal, South), Robert Odongkara (Adama City, Ethiopia)
Defenders: Murushid Jjuuko (Simba, Tanzania), Timothy Awany (KCCA), Halid Lwaliwa (Vipers), Godfrey Walusimbi (Free Agent), Joseph Ochaya (TP Mazembe, DR Congo), Kirizestom Ntambi (Ethiopian Coffee), Nico Wakiro Wadada (Azam, Tanzania)
Midfielders: Khalid Aucho (Churchhill brothers, India), Milton Karisa (MC Oujda), Hassan Wasswa Mawanda (Free Agent), Tadeo Lwanga (Vipers, Uganda), Ibrahim Sadam Juma (KCCA), Moses Waiswa (Vipers, Uganda), Moses Opondo (Vendsyssel FF, Denmark)
Forwards: Faruku Miya (Gorica, Croatia), Emmanuel Arnold Okwi (Simba, Tanzania), Allan Kyambadde (KCCA, Uganda), Allan Okello (KCCA), Edrisa Lubega (SV Ried, Austria), Muhammad Shaban (Raja Casablanca, Morocco), Henry Patrick Kaddu (KCCA)