Uganda Cranes and KCCA goalkeeper Charles Lukwago

AFCON 2021 Qualifiers (Group B):

  • 13th November 2019: Burkina Faso Vs Uganda Cranes – Ouagadougou
  • 17th November 2019: Uganda Cranes Vs Malawi Flames – Mandela National Stadium, Namboole

Uganda Cranes head coach Johnathan McKinstry named the 25 provisional squad to use in the AFCON 2021 double headers away to Burkina Faso and against Malawi at Mandela National Stadium, Namboole.

Among these 25 players, five of these feature in the Uganda Premier League, the rest ply their trade outside Uganda in the diaspora leagues.

McKinstry defended the inclusion of these players whom he feels have proved their worth.

McKinstry with Ag. FUFA boss Justus Mugisha during the coach’s unveiling ceremony at Mengo, Kampala

I took a close scrutiny of these players (locally based) and ascertained that they are fit enough and have the quality to join the mainstream uganda cranes team

Johnathan McKinstry, Uganda Cranes head coach

Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) has a lion’s share of the players on the team with three players and Vipers Sports Club has two.

Goalkeeper Charles Lukwago Credit: © Kawowo Sports | JOHN BATANUDDE
Nicholas Kasozi in action during a FUFA Drum
Allan Okello

KCCA goalkeeper Charles Lukwago, midfielder Nicholas Kasozi and stylish Allan Okello are on the team.

These are joined by Vipers’ captain Halid Lwaliwa and the on form forward Fahad Bayo.

Defender Halid Lwaliwa is back to the Uganda Cranes fold Credit: © Kawowo Sports | AMINAH BABIRYE
Fahad Bayo has been phenomenal in the Uganda Premier League thus far with six goals

For starters, all these five players were part of the Chan team that qualified for the fifth successive Championship of African Nations final tournament that will be hosted by Cameroon in 2020.

The five players face a stern test with the foreign legion in the battle for slots on the final team ahead of the two matches – Burkina Faso (away) and at home against Malawi.

Lukwago is deemed the third choice goalkeeper with skipper Denis Onyango and Robert Odongkara having surpassed the test of time.

Okello and Kasozi are part of the wide pool of talented midfielders on the team that has Khalid Aucho, Mike Azira, William Luwagga Kizito, Faruku Miya and Abdul Lumala.

Defender Lwaliwa has stiff competition in other central defenders in Ronald Mukiibi (Ostersunds FK, Sweden), Bevis Mugabi (Motherwell, Scotland), Murushid Jjuuko (Wydad Casablanca, Morocco), Timothy Denis Awany (Sport Club Ironi Ashdod, Israel) and the utility Hassan Wasswa Mawanda (Jeddah, Saudi Arabia).

Bayo is envisaged as the new kids on the block and has revamped himself since arriving in the Uganda Premier League from Zambia’s Buildcon.

The robust center forward will negotiate his way to the team after healthy competition with Emmanuel Arnold Okwi (Ittihad Alexandria, Egypt), Patrick Henry Kaddu (RS Berkane, Morocco) and Swedish based Alexis Bbakka who features at Carlstad United BK.

Uganda Cranes will play Burkina Faso on Wednesday, 13th November 2019 in Ouagadougou before hosting Malawi Flames three days later on Sunday, 17th November 2019 during the start of the campaign in group B.

The two other countries in group B include South Sudan and Lesotho.

McKinstry will work with Fred Kajoba (goalkeeping coach), Alexander McCarthy (fitness coach) as well as Abdallah Mubiru and Charles Livingstone Mbabazi as the first and second assistant referees respectively.

The Full Squad:

Goalkeepers:

Dennis Onyango (Mamelodi Sundowns, South Africa), Robert Odongkara (Horoya AC, Guinea), Charles Lukwago (KCCA, Uganda)

Defenders:

Ronald Mukiibi (Ostersunds FK, Sweden), Nico Wakiro Wadada (Azam, Tanzania), Bevis Mugabi (Motherwell, Scotland), Murushid Jjuuko (Wydad Casablanca, Morocco), Timothy Denis Awany (Sport Club Ironi Ashdod, Israel), Hassan Wasswa Mawanda (Jeddah, Saudi Arabia), Halid Lwaliwa (Vipers, Uganda), Isaac Muleme (Viktoria Zizkov, Czech Republic), Joseph Ochaya (TP Mazembe, Democratic Republic of Congo)

Midfielders:

Michael Azira (Chicago Fire, USA), Khalid Aucho (Misr Lel Makasa, Egypt), Tadeo Lwanga (Tanta, Egypt), Nicholas Kasozi (KCCA, Uganda), Allan Okello (KCCA, Uganda), Allan Kyambadde (El Gouna, Egypt), Farouk Miya (Konyaspor, Turkey), Abdu Lumala (Pyramids, Egypt), William Kizito Luwagga (Shakhter Karaganda, Kazahstan)

Forwards:

Emmanuel Arnold Okwi (Ittihad Alexandria, Egypt), Patrick Henry Kaddu (RS Berkane, Morocco), Alexis Bbakka (Carlstad United BK, Sweden), Fahad Bayo (Vipers, Uganda)

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

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