L-R: Derrick Nsibambi, Benard Muwanga and Geofrey Sserunkuma as the Uganda Cranes returned home on Tuesday morning from Cape Verde Credit: FUFA Media
[/media-credit] L-R: Derrick Nsibambi, Bernard Muwanga and Geoffrey Sserunkuma Credit: FUFA Media

Uganda Cranes delegation of 31 people (19 players and 12 officials) returned home on Tuesday early morning.

The contingent touched down at 3:52 a.m from Cape Verde Islands.

A handful of fans, friends and family members were accompanied by several FUFA officials who braved the chilly weather conditions to welcome back their heroes after a slim but well worked out 1-0 away victory over the Cape Verde Islands on Sunday.

Donned in different attires with Errea branded black jackets, the visibly excited albeit tired players were then treated to a brief press conference at the Crane Cafeteria at Entebbe International Airport.

Speaker after speaker from the new captain Denis Onyango, midfielder Hassan Wasswa Mawanda, goal scorer Geoffrey Sserunkuma, head of delegation Dennis Mbidde, head coach Milutin Sredejevoic and the FUFA boss Moses Magogo praised the fighting spirit of the playing staff given the challenging conditions prior to the match.

Uganda Cranes captain Dennis Onyango speaks as FUFA 1st Vice President, Justus Mugisha looks on at Entebbe International Airport during a press conference Credit: FUFA Media

“We were determined to win against all odds. I thank the players. They were not shaken up by the tough conditions before the match. They remained strong mentally and physically. This is the spirit we need throughout the campaign,” Onyango eloquently spoke.

Magogo used the platform to once again highlight on the challenges of using a commercial flight than a chartered flight.

“The flight to Cape Verde has always been challenging. It is upon this background that I plead with the Government to come up and support the team fully. Many of the African countries use chartered flights. We have proved we can get the results even in such terrible conditions of moving city to city with stoppages. Government has to have a special budget for football, Uganda Cranes in particular,” Magogo cried.

Micho thanked the players as well but warned against complacency with the campaign just one match played.

“I thank the players, FUFA, fans, media and sponsors. Apart from the dubious penalty we conceded against Burkina Faso and a penalty denied for us in the same match, we have only lost one away game since 2014.

“This is a great statement but we need to stay focused. We have many matches ahead of us with the immediate CHAN 2018 and FIFA World Cup 2018 qualifiers around the corner,” Micho remarked in an uncustomary brief speech.

All the players who traveled with the team returned home. The foreign based players will join their respective clubs later and so are the 6 KCCA players who joined their club ahead of the Uganda Cup final in Arua, against Paidha Black Angels this Thursday.

The players were latter treated to a light cocktail before they departed for their respective destinations.

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

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