Uganda Cranes head coach Johnthan McKinstry talks to some of the players at Lugogo on Monday (Credit: FUFA Media)

AFCON 2021 Qualifiers (Group B):

Thursday 12th November 2020:Match Day 3: Uganda Vs South Sudan- St Mary’s Stadium Kitende (4 pm)

Tuesday, 17th November 2020: Match Day 4: South Sudan Vs Uganda- Nairobi  (7 pm)

On 12th and 16th November 2020, Uganda Cranes will be back in action after a very long period without any international fixture.

These two games will be against neighbours South Sudan during the 2021 AFCON group B double header

Actually, the lapse is attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic that has rugged the entire world up-side down.

Twenty two locally based players who ply their trade in the StarTimes Uganda Premier League commenced a residential training regime at Lugogo, the home of KCCA.

It is a mission of “killing two birds with one stone” where the Uganda Cranes is preparing for the CHAN 2021 as well as the engagement for the AFCON 2021 group B double header against South Sudan.

Under Northern Irishman Johnathan McKinstry, the players commenced the training sessions at Lugogo on Monday with classes at the Cranes Paradise Hotel in Kisaasi.

McKinstry is working closing with assistants Abdallah Mubiru, Livingstone Mbabazi, Fred Kajoba Kisitu (goalkeeping coach) and physical fitness trainer Alex McCarthy. 

Johnathan McKinstry and Abdallah Mubiru at the StarTimes Stadium, Lugogo (Credit: FUFA Media)

Kajoba, Mubiru and Mbabazi are also attached to three Uganda Premier League clubs as head coaches at Vipers, Police and Kyetume respectively.

Therefore, the impact of the trio is much needed given the fact that they work with the locally based players on a regular basis at club level.

This crop has the experienced legs and brains of Tonny Mawejje, Murushid Juuko as well as Denis Iguma who ever played for Uganda Cranes at the prestigious African Cup of Nations (AFCON).

Others are goalkeeper Charles Lukwago, Milton Karisa, Halid Lwaliwa, Shafiq Kuchi Kagimu and Said Kyeyune, among others.

The players going through the paces at Lugogo (Credit: John Batanudde)

“I am glad that I have returned to the National team setup. It seems a surprise to many but I expected it. I am in the best shape to deliver like before. My role is to train,  follow instructions and the technical team does the selection. My vast experience with the national team has to create an impact” Mawejje, as quoted by the  FUFA Website.

McKinstry has already told the players the significance of their summon and the task in thy midst – to train and be fit ahead of the duties assigned to them.

Five of these players will be included to the 20 man already summoned team ahead of the South Sudan double header.

Uganda Cranes Locally based players in camp:

Goalkeepers: Charles Lukwago (KCCA), Joel Mutakubwa (Kyetume), Alionzi Nafian (URA)

Defenders: Murushid Juuko (Express), Denis Iguma (KCCA), Halid Lwaliwa (Vipers), Patrick Mbowa (URA), Derrick Ndahiro (Sc Villa), Disan Galiwango (Vipers), Paul Willa (Vipers), Ashraf Mandela (URA), Samuel Kato (KCCA)

Midfielders: Tonny Mawejje (Police), Saidi Kyeyune (URA), Shafiq Kuchi Kagimu (URA), Karim Watambala (Vipers), Bright Anukani (KCCA), David Owori David ( Sc Villa)

Forwards: Milton Karisa (Vipers), Brian Ahebwa (KCCA), Ibrahim Oriti (Vipers), Stephen Desse Mukwala (URA)

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

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