Dennis Onyango
Denis Onyango (Photo: John Batanudde)

The Uganda Cranes team currently preparing for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) finals in Egypt has been boosted by the timely arrival of the captain Dennis Onyango.

The Mamelodi Sundowns first-choice goalkeeper, arguably the current best shot-stopper on the continent is in the country and watched the team’s training on Thursday at the StarTimes Stadium, Lugogo.

Onyango sings praise of the Federation for the preparations as well as Government that has continuously funded the team right from the qualifiers.

He has the hope that the planned training camp in Abu Dhabi will prepare the team well ahead of the championship.

I thank the Federation for all the preparations especially the training camp planned in Abu Dhabi where the team will intensify the training regime given the same weather conditions like the one in Egypt. I also thank the Government for the financial support given to the team since the qualifiers

Dennis Onyango, Uganda Cranes

Fresh from clinching his fourth PSL championship with Mamelodi Sundowns, Onyango is optimistic Uganda Cranes will perform well at the 2019 AFCON finals in Egypt.

I have the hope that Uganda Cranes will perform well in the AFCON 2019 finals. Our important game to me will be the opening match against Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). We shall go all out for a victory to fancy our chances of progressing from group A.

Meanwhile, the Uganda Cranes team trained at Lugogo on Thursday evening following an early morning gym session at Kabira country club in Bukoto, where the team is residing.

L-R: Hassan Wasswa Mawanda, Tadeo Lwanga and Bevis Mugabi in training on Thursday (Photo: FUFA Media)

Currently, the local based players Moses Waiswa (Vipers), Tadeo Lwanga (Vipers), Patrick Henry Kaddu (KCCA), Allan Kymbadde (KCCA) and Ibrahim Sadam Juma (KCCA) are in training joined by the foreign legion of lanky defender Bevis Mugabi (Yeovil Town, England), Isaac Muleme (FK Viktoria Zizkov, Czech Republic), Aucho Khalid (Church Hill Brothers, India) and the unattached duo of Hassan Wasswa Mawanda and Godfrey Walusimbi.

Midfielder Aucho Khalid gets the ball ahead of Tadeo Lwanga at Lugogo (Photo: FUFA Media)

The aforementioned players were engaged in vigorous physical drills for close to an hour under the watchful eyes of coaches Sebastien Desabre, Mathias Lule and trainer Antonio D’Jerome.

Sebastien Desabre gestures during training on Thursday at Lugogo (Photo: FUFA Media)

Meanwhile, the goalkeeping coach Fred Kajoba was engaged in workouts with U-17 goalkeeper Jack Komakech.

The team training resumes on Friday morning with a gym session at Kabira.

The team is expected to depart for Abu Dhabi on 29th May 2019 where they will camp for two weeks, and play in two high profile international friendly matches.

The final team of 23 players to Egypt will be confirmed after the two international friendly matches in Abu Dhabi.

The Provisional Squad to Abu Dhabi:

Goalkeepers: Denis Onyango (Mamelodi Sundowns, South Africa), Robert Odongkara (Adama City, Ethiopia), Charles Lukwago (KCCA, Uganda) Jamal Salim (Al Hilal-Sudan)

Defenders:  Murushid Jjuuko (Simba, Tanzania), Ronald Mukiibi (Ostersunds, Sweden), Bevis Mugabi (Yeovil Town, England), 
Isaac Muleme (FK Viktoria Zizkov, Czech Republic), Nico Wakiro Wadada (Azam FC, Tanzania), Hassan Wasswa Mawanda (Unattached), Joseph Ochaya (TP Mazembe, DR Congo), Timothy Denis Awanyi (KCCA FC,Uganda), Godfrey Walsumbi (Unattached)

Midfielders:  William Luwagga Kizito (Shakhter Karagandy, Kazahstan), Khalid Aucho (Church Hill Brothers, India), Faruku Miya (HNK Gorica, Croatia), Michael Azira (Montreal, Canada), Tadeo Lwanga (Vipers SC-Uganda), Kirizestom Ntambi- Coffee FC, Ethiopia), Allan Kateregga (Maritzburg, South Africa), Moses Waiswa Moses (Vipers SC, Uganda), Sadam Juma (KCCA FC-Uganda)

Strikers: Alexis Bbakka (Carlstad United, Sweden), Emmanuel Arnold Okwi (Simba, Tanzania), Abdul Lumala (Syrianska FC, Sweden), Patrick Henry Kaddu (KCCA FC, Uganda), Derrick Nsibambi (Smouha, Egypt), Allan Kyambadde (KCCA FC Uganda)

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

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