Ivan Ntege (4) passes the ball during a test match with the Uganda Cranes last month
  • 2018 FIFA World Cup (Qualifiers) – Group E
  • Thursday, 31st August 2017
  • Uganda Cranes vs. Egypt Pharaohs – Namboole, 4 p.m
[/media-credit] Ivan ‘Kojja’ Ntege of Township Rollers in Botswana Credit: Kawowo Sports

It is every sports tactician’s delight to have a selection puzzle and slight headache when it comes to naming the team set to face the opposition.

Uganda Cranes interim coaches Moses Basena, Fred Kajoba, Ibra Ssekajja and Mathias Lule find themselves in such a healthy fix ahead 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifier home tie against Egypt on Thursday.

To the hardworking midfielder Ivan ‘Kojja’ Ntege, who has just penned a deal at Botswana side Township Rollers, the competition is a healthy component for the team.

When you look around, there are two or more players per position.

This is good for the team. It means, we have to work hard and prove who is ready mentally and physically for the battle at hand

Ntege one the four defensive minded midfield players on the team alongside Khalid Aucho, Geoffrey ‘Baba’ Kizito and Hassan Wasswa Mawanda.

Ntege calls upon the fans to grace the match in large numbers.

I call upon the fans to come and support us when we take on Egypt.

We feel motivated when fans cheer us throughout the match.

We are at home and we should make us of this home advantage

Besides the aforementioned department, there is stiff competition in central offensive midfield that has Faruku Miya, Moses Waiswa, Muzamiru Mutyaba, Shafiq Kagimu and Tom Masiko.

Romania based winger William Luwagga Kizito of Politehnica Iași could start on the right with Milton Karisa sitting and Lusaka Dynamos’ Joseph Ochaya could start on the left.

Between the goalposts, team captain Dennis Onyango is undisputed with the battle for the second slot going on between St George’s Robert Odongkara and two home-based goalkeepers Benjamin Ochan and Ismael Watenga.

At right back, Nico Wakiro Wadada has the match fitness and vigour ahead of Dennis Iguma whose mental strength and experience remains a valuable asset to the team.

The central defense has the returning Isaac Isinde, Murushid Jjuuko, Paul Musamali, Timothy Awany, Bernard Muwanga and an option of the utility Hassan Wasswa to pull back and offer the precious cover.

The quest for goals lies upon the on form forwards Geoffrey Sserunkuma, Emmanuel Okwi and Derrick Nsibambi.

Uganda Cranes current squad:

  • Goalkeepers: Dennis Onyango (Mamelodi Sundowns, South Africa), Robert Odongkara (St George, Ethiopia), Benjamin Ochan (KCCA, Uganda), Ismael Watenga (Vipers, Uganda)
  • Right backs: Dennis Iguma (Al Ahed, Lebanon), Nico Wakiro Wadada (Vipers, Uganda)
  • Left backs: Godfrey ‘Jjajja Walu’ Walusimbi (Gor Mahia, Kenya), Isaac Muleme (KCCA, Uganda)
  • Central Defenders: Isaac Isinde (Buildcon, Zambia), Murushid Jjuuko (Simba, Tanzania), Paul Musamali (KCCA, Uganda), Timothy Awany (KCCA, Uganda), Bernard Muwanga (SC Villa, Uganda)
  • Central Defensive midfielders: Khalid Aucho (Unattached), Geofrey ‘Baba’ Kizito (Than Quảng Ninh, Vietnam)), Hassan Wasswa Mawanda (Njihem, Lebanon), Ivan ‘Kojja’ Ntege (Township Rollers, Botswana),
  • Central Offensive midfielders: Faruku Miya (Standard Liege, Belgium), Moses Waiswa (Vipers, Uganda), Muzamiru Mutyaba (KCCA, Uganda), Shafiq Kagimu (URA, Uganda), Tom Masiko (KCCA, Uganda)
  • Wing attackers: William Luwagga Kizito (Politehnica Iași, Romania), Milton Karisa (Vipers, Uganda), Joseph Ochaya (Lusaka Dynamos, Zambia)
  • Forward players: Emmanuel Okwi (Simba, Uganda), Geofrey Sserunkuma (Buildcon, Zambia), Derrick Nsibambi (KCCA, Uganda)

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

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