Michael Azira
Michael Azira upon arrival in Abu Dhabi on Friday evening (Photo: FUFA Media)

Uganda Cranes up-coming matches:

  • Sunday, 9th June 2019: Uganda Cranes Vs Turkmenistan – New York University Stadium, Abu Dhabi (Close door match)
  • Saturday, 15th June 2019: Uganda Cranes Vs Turkmenistan – Cricket Ground, Abu Dhabi (Open to public)

AFCON 2019 Matches:

  • 22nd June: Uganda Cranes Vs DR Congo
  • 26th June: Zimbabwe Vs Uganda Cranes
  • 30th June: Uganda Cranes Vs Egypt

The Uganda Cranes camp at the Rotana Hotel in Abu Dhabi is full following the arrival of Mike Azira on Friday evening.

Azira plies his professional trade in Canada with Eastern Conference side Montreal Impact.

On Thursday, Azira had played 90 minutes as Montreal Impact rallied from a goal down to beat Seattle Sounders 2-1 at their Saputo Olympic Stadium.

His arrival in camp is a big boost to the team following the untimely knee injury to Vipers’ midfielder Moses Waiswa, who has been since ruled out of the tournament.

Michael Azira (left) closes down an opponent during an Eastern Conference MLS encounter

Azira, one of the few players who also played at AFCON 2017 in Gabon is back to provide the team coverage in the central midfield with timely tackles, blocks (interceptions) as well as orchestrating play between the defence and forward departments.

His experience will, therefore, be key to the team at such a big continental championship.

Mike Azira at AFCON 2019 in Gabon Credit: Kawowo Sports | AMINAH BABIRYE

He is in direct competition with Vipers’ captain Tadeo Lwanga, Kirizestom Ntambi (Coffee FC, Ethiopia), Aucho Khalid (Churchhill Brothers, India) and KCCA holding midfielder Ibrahim Sadam Juma as well as utility player Hassan Wasswa Mawanda who offers his services in defence and midfield in equal measure.

The head coach Sebastien Desabre will name the final team to AFCON 2019 on 11th June 2019.

The final team will be named after Sunday’s international friendly match against Asian country Turkmenistan at the New York University in Abu Dhabi.

Uganda Cranes is in group A alongside hosts Egypt, Zimbabwe and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The Uganda Cranes Squad Currently camped in Abu Dhabi:

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

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

Midfielders:  Mike Azira (Montreal Impact, Canada), Allan Kateregga (Maritzburg, South Africa), William Kizito Luwagga (Shakhter Karagandy, Kazakhstan), Khalid Aucho (Church Hill Brothers, India), Faruku Miya (HNK Gorica, Croatia), Abdul Lumala (Syrianska, Sweden), Tadeo Lwanga (Vipers SC-Uganda), Kirizestom Ntambi- Coffee FC, Ethiopia), Sadam Juma (KCCA FC-Uganda)

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

Ruled out with a knee Injury: Moses Waiswa (Vipers SC, Uganda)

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

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