Yusuf Ssozi evades away from a Burundian opponent Credit: FUFA Media

Police Football Club midfielder Yusuf Ssozi started his first game for Uganda Cranes during the return leg of the 2020 Chan qualifiers against Burundi at StarTimes Stadium, Lugogo in Kampala.

Ssozi played the entire duration of the game and largely impressed during Uganda Cranes’ 3-0 win on the evening.

Fahad Bayo, Viane Ssekajugo and Allan Okello scored for Uganda, progressing 6-0 on aggregate to book a fifth consecutive berth to the continental showpiece.

Ssozi was deployed alongside KCCA’s Nicholas Kasozi as the two holding midfield players in a match that the hosts entirely dominated from start to finish.

The former AFC Leopards and Paidha Black Angels midfielder is humbled by the trust vested into him by the technical team and the collective display from his teammates.

Yusuf Ssozi evades away from a Burundian opponent Credit: FUFA Media

I am delighted having been trusted and given the opportunity to represent my country, Uganda against Burundi. Playing 90 minutes is another testament of my abilities. I thank the coaches, my fellow teammates, media and fans who all gave me the encouragement. I am looking forward such continued displays and even better.

Yusuf Ssozi, midfielder
Yusuf Ssozi

In the game, the technical team led by Abdallah Mubiru called for all the three mandatory changes.

Youngster Bright Anukani, who features at Proline replaced URA’s Shafiq Kuchi Kagimu 10 minutes into the second half.

Mike Mutyaba, a KCCA player was then rested for Viane Ssekajugo on 65 minutes before Dan Muzeyi Sserunkuma was the late change for club mate Bayo.

Ssozi has confessed that he will remain focused and he looks forward to cementing his place in the national team.

IT TAKES COMMITMENT TO PLAY FOOTBALL. I WILL REMAIN DETERMINED TO SUCCEED AT CLUB LEVEL AS I REMAIN AMONG THE POOL OF PLAYERS FOR THE NATIONAL TEAM.

Yusuf Ssozi, midfielder

Mubiru, who is also Ssozi’s coach at Police FC sung praises of Ssozi and believes he has more to deliver.

Ssozi started nervously but gained confidence as the game progressed. He has a bright future ahead.

Uganda XI: Standing L-R: Fahad Bayo, Mustafa Kizza, Nicholas Kasozi, John Revita, Charles Lukwago (G.K) and captain Halid Lwaliwa. Front Row: Yusuf Ssozi, Allan Okello, Paul Willa, Shafiq Kuchi Kagimu and Mike Mutyaba Credit: Courtesy

Ssozi made his national team debut away in Bujumbura during the first leg.

Uganda has now qualified for the fifth consecutive Chan finals following earlier successes in 2011 (Sudan), South Africa (2013), Rwanda (2016) and lately Morocco (2018).

Uganda Cranes XI: Charles Lukwago (GK), Paul Willa, Mustapha Kizza, Halid Lwaliwa (Captain), John Revita, Yusuf Ssozi, Nicholas Kasozi, Allan Okello, Fahad Bayo (78’ Dan Muzeyi Sserunkuma), Mike Mutyaba (65’ Viane Ssekajugo), Shafiq Kagimu (55’ Bright Anukani)

Substitutes Not Used: James Alitho (G.K), Musitafa Mujuzi, Allan Kayiwa, Saidi Kyeyune

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

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