AFCON 2017 Qualifiers (Group D):

  • 1st Leg – Sat, 26th March 2016: Burkina Faso Vs Uganda – Ouagadougou (5 p.m)
  • 2nd Leg – Tues, 29th March 2016: Uganda Vs Burkina Faso – Kampala (7 p.m)

Barely 10 days to the long awaited 2017 AFCON qualificiers double header between Uganda Cranes and Burkina Faso in the Group D, the Cranes head coach Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojevic names the team on Wednesday, 16th March 2016 at FUFA House in Kampala.

This is a week after his counterpart from Burkina Faso, Paulo Daurte named his 25 man team.

Micho confirmed the development to Kawowo Sports;

I will name the team on Wednesday and training starts immediately the next day with the local players before professionals come on board in the next couple of days.

The Serbian whose 16 year epoch on the African continent emits steam is expected to ring a couple of changes with a few omissions, additions and returnees to the team.

Omissions:

There are notable expected omissions on the team like the injured St George Football club striker, Brian Umony and a few players who have been dormant on the football front for the last two months.

It remains a 50-50 situation for players who have been out of action since the last away qualifier to Comoros in November 2014.

These include professionals as Yunus Sentamu and Geofrey ‘Baba’ Kizito. The duo are reported to have agreed terms with two top clubs in Finnland and will commence club duties in April 2016.

It will not be surprising that players with a remarkable dip in form will not make the squad.

Returnees:

Predictably, Iraq based midfielder Hassan Wasswa Mawanda (Al Shorta F.C), left footed winger Brian Majwega (Simba Sports Club in Tanzania) are examples of players expected to break the ice.

The duo have already been part of qualification campaign having played at Namboole against Botswana in the 2-0 triumph but were left out of the box in the latter matches because of inactivity.

The other returnee to the national team could be Lweza F.C veteran striker, Geofrey Sserunkuma, who is vying for the slot to replace Umony.

CECAFA 2015, CHAN 2016 & Na-Mutima Graduates:

Here a bulk of local players who ply their trade in the fast improving Uganda Premier League are in contention.

Players who excelled at the CECAFA 2015 in Ethiopia and were exceptional at CHAN 2016 in Rwanda are likely to make the grade.

There is no debate on KCCA left back, Joseph Ochaya, his club-mates Ivan Ntege, creative midfielder Muzamiru Mutyaba, Timothy Awani and club skipper Denis Okot Oola.

Vipers’ trio of James Alitho, an on form Erisa Ssekisambu and the rejuvenated Kezironi Kizito require no subject of contention.

Micho is expected to re-call CHAN goal scorer Geofrey Sserunkuma, revelation Edris Lubega and a ‘wild’ name on the team.

The other two consistent faces on the local team of late  have been the Bright Stars’ duo of goalie Mathias Kigonya and his team skipper, Bernard Muwanga.

Of course Micho is expected to add one or two local names from the ‘Cranes Na-mutima’ team.

Addressing the media after that shocking 1-0 loss to West Nile in Arua, Micho said;

I have three to five names from this team (Cranes Na-Mutima) and the rest will join the rest of the other Ugandans in the stands to support the team against Burkina Faso

Professionals:

The cream of the team is that enviable defence of the trusted Sundowns goalie Denis Onyango, his St George look alike, Robert Odongkara, El Merriekh shot stopper Salim Jamal, Lebanese based versatile player Denis Iguma, Godfrey Walusimbi (Gor Mahia), Murushid Jjuuko (Simba), Ivan Bukenya (Kaizer Chiefs) and Isaac Isinde (St George).

“These guys (the defenders) have forged a wonderful partnership and for gel and continuity, there is no question about that” Micho noted at the start of the month.

The biggest selection headache for the coach and the technical team as always is in the midfield with Tonny Mawejje, Khalid Aucho, Farouk Miya, William Luwagga Kizito, Yassar Mugerwa, Moses Oloya never put on the cross.

The forward line as usual is led by Bloemfontein forward, Geofrey Massa with Hamis ‘Diego’ Kizza expected to be summoned having featured in the World Cup preliminary round qualifications against Togo.

It remains to be seen which new professional Micho names on the team.

He has already indicated a few professionals will be considered in the May Genocide tournament in Rwanda.

Without revealing the identity of players, Micho stated last week, there are players based in Europe he will give chance in the May tournament in Rwanda.

“We have a big pool of players based in Europe and elsewhere. These, I will give chance to express themselves and prove in the Genocide tournament that we shall play in May this year” he stated.

With several names suggested to the technical team which has also done the ground work and detailed consultations, who are wild cards to the Uganda Cranes’ team against Burkina Faso away and home?

David Isabirye is a senior staff writer for Kawowo Sports where he covers most of the major events.

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