Murushid Juuko during the Uganda Cranes training session at the MTN Omondi Stadium, Lugogo

It is an openly known that Uganda Cranes has never played at the treasured FIFA World Cup finals.

This is a sad story line that experienced defender Murushid Juuko would love to change for the better.

Juuko himself has already featured for the country at two Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) finals in Gabon (2017) and Egypt (2019), having played a total of 39 caps with one goal against Sao Tome and Principe at Mandela National Stadium, Namboole.

Currently playing for the reigning Uganda Premier League champions and CECAFA Kagame Clubs cup recent winners Express, Juuko is part of the local legion of players on the Uganda Cranes team in preparation for the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification.

Murushid Juuko alights from the Uganda Cranes team bus

The former Entebbe Young, Red Cross, Bunamwaya, Sports Club Victoria University, Simba (Tanzania) and Wydad Casablanca (Morocco) center half attests that with collective effort, Uganda can break the barricades and jump the hurdles.

I am humbled to be part of the Uganda Cranes. The current camp is jovial and focused to make it happy. I call upon the fans to fully support us and the stakeholders to rally behind the team. We have the ability to make it to the FIFA World Cup.

Murushid Juuko, Express and Uganda Cranes defender
Murushid Juuko joined teammates in the work-outs at Lugogo on Thursday morning

Juuko was the last player from the domestic league to report to camp on Thursday, 19th August 2021.

He was part of the two hour session at the MTN Omondi Stadium, Lugogo in the morning ahead of the afternoon session.

Juuko is among the six Express players on the national team. Others include the rookie; Arthur Kiggundu (left back), midfielder Muzamiru Mutyaba, goalkeeper Joel Mutakubwa, forward Martin Kizza and captain Enock Walusimbi.

Thursday afternoon session curtained gymnastic drills and stretches.

Goalkeeping trainer Fred Kajoba Kisitu with Simon Tamale and Charles Lukwago, two of the four goalkeepers currently in camp

Preparation roadmap:

Uganda plans a couple of friendly matches in the middle East and another build up against Ethiopia on 29th August 2021 in preparation for the FIFA World Cup group E match against Kenya in Nairobi.

Rwanda and Mali are the two other countries in group E.

Players in Camp:

Goalkeepers: Joel Mutakubwa (Express), Charles Lukwago (KCCA), Simon Tamale (Soltilo Bright Stars), Nafian Alionzi (URA)

Defenders: Murushid Juuko (Express), Enock Walusimbi (Express), Arthur Kiggundu (Express), Denis Iguma (KCCA), Innocent Wafula (Mbarara City), Paul Willa (Vipers SC), Eric Ssenjobe (Police), Azizi Kayondo (Vipers), Halid Lwaliwa (Vipers), Garvin Kizito Mugweri (SC Villa), Kenneth Ssemakula (SC Villa), Hassan Muhamood (Police)

Midfielders: Muzamiru Mutyaba (Express), Ibrahim Orit (Vipers), Milton Karisa (Vipers SC), Bobosi Byaruhanga (Vipers), Shafik Kuchi Kagimu (URA), Nicholas Kasozi (Kyetume), Abubakar Gift Ali (KCCA)

Forwards: Martin Kizza (Express), Emmanuel Arnold Okwi (Unattached), Patrick Henry Kaddu (RS Berkene), Jude Ssemugabi (Mbarara City), Richard Basangwa (Vipers), Steven Dese Mukwala (URA FC)

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

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