Uganda 2019 AFCON Group (A) Matches:
22nd June: Uganda Cranes vs DR Congo
26th June: Zimbabwe vs Uganda Cranes
30th June: Uganda Cranes vs Egypt
Uganda Cranes Head Coach Sebastian Desabre made just ten (10) changes from the team that represented Uganda at the 2017 AFCON finals in Gabon under Serbian Milutin Micho Sredojevic. Desabre named the final 23-man squad on Tuesday from the 26 players camping in Abu Dhabi to beat the CAF final squad submission deadline.
Only four local-based players were included in the team that also has two players without clubs. Hassan Wasswa and Godfrey Walusimbi are not attached to any club while Tadeo Lwanga, Timothy Awany, Patrick Kaddu and Allan Kyambadde are the only local-based players on the team.
Sadam Juma, Kirizestom Ntambi and Alex David Bakka are the three players who were dropped the French tactician. Bakka is nursing an injury while Ethiopia based Ntambi and KCCA FC’s Juma did not make the cut.
Of the 23 players due to fly to Egypt for the prestigious continental showpiece commencing next Friday on June 21, 13 players were in the 2017 AFCON finals in Gabon where the Cranes only managed a point and one goal to bow out in the Group stage as Uganda marked return to AFCON finals after 18 years of absence.
With the 2017 Captain Geoffrey Massa retiring, Mamelodi Sundowns goal keeper Denis Onyango will lead the team in Egypt. The 10 players making a debut at the competition include; Bevis Mugabi, Isaac Muleme, Tadeo Lwanga, Emanuel Okwi, Abdu Lumala, Allan Kateregga, Allan Kyambadde, Derrick Nsibambi and Patrick Kaddu.
These will replace Yunus Sentamu, Tonny Mawejje, Isaac Isinde, Godfrey Sserunkuma, Denis Iguma, Moses Oloya, Geoffrey Massa (retired), Mohamed Shaban Baba Kizito and Shafik Batambuze who failed to make a second straight appearance at the competition.
The rest of the 13 players are making a second straight appearance include; Denis Onyango, Jamal Salim Magoola, Robert Odongkara, Murushid Jjuuko, Hassan Wasswa Mawanda, Wakiro Nico Wadada, Joseph Benson Ochaya, Timothy Denis Awany, Godfrey Walusimbi, William Kizito Luwagga, Khalid Aucho, Mike Azira and Faruku Miya.
Whereas the excitement was more on return to AFCON finals two years, after splendid performance in the qualifiers where they lost only one game (after qualifying), and the high level of preparation the team has had, Cranes fans are eager for a better performance in Egypt this year.
Uganda played to a disappointing barren stalemate against lower ranked Turkmenistan on Sunday but have another build-up tie to make amends against giants Ivory Coast this Saturday before flying to Cairo. Uganda is in Group A and open against Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) before facing Zimbabwe and hosts Egypt respectively.
Full 2019 Cranes squad and jersey numbers:
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 Kyambadde (21).