David Obua and Geoffrey Massa scored for Uganda against Lesotho in 2006 Credit: © Kawowo Sports | JOHN BATANUDDE
[/media-credit] Geoffrey Massa in action against Comoros Credit: © Kawowo Sports | JOHN BATANUDDE

After 12 years of consistently leading the Uganda Cranes forward line, Geoffrey Massa has decided to retire from playing for the national team.

The skipper made the announcement on Wednesday, March 29 and his decision leaves a void on the national team.

Cranes Coach Mulitin ‘Micho’ Sredojevic, upon getting the news of Massa’s retirement said this country isn’t blessed with 50 strikers that one is gone and 49 ready.

With him gone now, Kawowo Sports’ Ismael Kiyonga looks at who can replace him in the Cranes strike force.

Muhammad Shaban

[/media-credit] Muhammed Shaban Credit: Kawowo Sports

A well-built centre forward with pace and power. The Onduparaka Captain, despite his age has been part of the national team for close to a year now and was part of the team in Gabon for Africa Cup of Nations.

Without doubt, he has the daring heart of the young Massa and has the ability to lead the line on his own like he proved on the U-17 national team as well as Onduparaka, a side that has depended on his goals right from the FUFA Big League.

Geoffrey Sserunkuma

[/media-credit] Geoffrey Sserunkuma in action against French Military Credit: © Kawowo Sports | AMINAH BABIRYE

Like Micho said, Massa’s natural replacement would without doubt be the league’s leading marks man, Geoffrey Sserunkuma.

The veteran has always been ignored not only by Micho but even the previous national team coaches but he has proved arguably the most lethal centre forward elsewhere since the retirement of Andrew ‘Fimbo’ Mukasa and Hassan ‘Figo’ Mubiru.

His positional sense, lethal feet and the magic head puts him way ahead of others but his only undoing is that age isn’t on his side.

Brian Umony

[/media-credit] Brian Umony in action for Uganda Cranes against Botswana in 2015 Credit: © Kawowo Sports / AMINAH BABIRYE

Currently on the sidelines due to a horrific injury suffered close to 12 months ago, Umony has been part of the Cranes since his breakthrough in 2008.

A lethal centre forward with a lion’s heart to dare any backline, the ex-KCCA and SuperSport United striker has the ability to take over from Massa but must increase his national team goals away from friendlies and CECAFA competitions.

Edirisa Lubega

A rough diamond that needs polishing. Lubega, now in Austria still has a lot to improve including his first touch but has proved he can score goals.

The former Proline striker has the pace needed of a centre forward and his movement on and off the ball is fantastic.

Emmanuel Okwi

[/media-credit] Emmanuel Okwi in action during Uganda Cranes friendly with France Military Credit: © Kawowo Sports | AMINAH BABIRYE

Arguably the most talented of the lot but Okwi he blows and hot cold. Now at SC Villa, the striker has the ability and skills to beat his man and unleash that scorching shot.

Okwi also has the ability to play wide but still cause havoc and get the goals. He didn’t get so much game time with Massa around and hopefully, he grabs this chance with the big man now in retirement.

Farouk Miya 

[/media-credit] Uganda’s Farouk Miya battles with Ghana’s John Boye Credit: © Kawowo Sports | AMINAH BABIRYE

In 2-3 games, Micho has employed the Belgium based attacker as a lead striker when he opted to bench Massa.

He did so against Ghana in Tamale in the FIFA 2018 World Cup qualifiers and also against Mali in the AFCON 2017 and in both games, he didn’t disappoint.

Besides, he has a knack for scoring goals although with his late runs into the area. Can he do that with him as the main man? That’s the biggest question.

Derrick Nsibambi 

[/media-credit] KCCA’s Derrick Nsibambi celebrating his goal against KPL champions Tusker FC at Phillip Omondi Stadium Credit: © Kawowo Sports | John Batanudde

The long-limbed KCCA striker has all the ingredients of a modern centre forward. Brilliant movement on and off the ball, fast and reads the game well. Plus, he has the heading ability of retired German international, Miroslav Klose.

Unlike the rest, he hasn’t been so near the national team and must also increase the number of goals for his club to earn the right to be considered.

Hamis ‘Diego’ Kiiza

Only a couple of games has he been fielded as a centre forward on the national team. But he has proved he can lead the line at club level – at URA, Yanga and Simba where he grabbed and grabs headlines for good reasons; goals.

Will he earn the trust of Micho and company this time around? The gaffer hinted at him as one of the players he will consider.

Erisa Ssekisambu

Erisa Ssekisambu during Uganda Cranes Regional Tour match against Buganda

He is arguably the most improved local based player in the past couple of years. Ssekisambu was unfortunate to suffer injury in November last year which seems to have hit his form but he is steadily returning to his best.

A power forward with pace, his first touch remains his undoing and for a forward, he needs to improve his heading ability but has proved he can be lethal.

Senior Staff writer at Kawowo Sports mainly covering football

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