Uganda Cranes players and officials pray at the Mbale Municipal Stadium before the last training session (Credit: David Isabirye)
  • Uganda Cranes Regional Tours 2021
  • Eastern Region Select Vs Uganda Cranes – Mbale Municipal Stadium
  • Saturday, 25th September (4 PM) – No fans allowed

Uganda Cranes officially embark on the preparations for the third and fourth matches of the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers against Rwanda with a domestic trip to the Eastern region on Saturday, 25th September 2021.

The national team will face a select team from the Eastern region at the Mbale Municipal Stadium in the regional tour arrangement hitherto dubbed as “Cranes Namutiima”.

These nationwide tours serve the purpose of taking the national team brand closer to the populous in their respective localities as well as preparing for the local legion of players for the national team service.

In this particular case, with the Rwanda doubleheader looming in October 2021, the locally-based players in the Uganda Premier League (UPL) will therefore use this platform to present a strong case for consideration.

The team traveled to Mbale on Friday and managed to train at the Mbale Municipal Stadium to acclimatize to the bumpy re-greened surface.

Goalkeepers find the balance during training at Mbale Municipal Stadium (Credit: David Isabirye)

Uganda Cranes head coach Milutin “Micho” Sredojevic has fond memories of the Eastern region, a special part of the country that has been known to produce great talents time immemorial.

“I have fond memories of Eastern Uganda. It is where great talents that have served this country come from like the late Edwin Hasule. The match against the Eastern region will therefore present a perfect test for the locally-based players,” Micho disclosed.

The game presents Micho and his backroom staff the opportunity to assess a couple of players; many of whom were part of the Ethiopia, Kenya, and Mali engagements at the start of September 2021.

Goalkeeper Nafian Alionzi, right winger Innocent Wafula, experienced utility player Denis Iguma (also the team captain), Geofrey Wasswa, Shafik Kagimu, Jude Ssemugabi and the returning towering center forward Davis Kasirye, and others all face litmus tests checkpoints for consideration for the Rwanda doubleheader.

Davis Kasirye alights from the Uganda Cranes team bus (Credit: David Isabirye)

Micho did not name five players earlier summoned for the Mbale trip because of varying reasons.

Sports Club Villa defenders Kenneth Semakula and Gavin Kizito Mugweri as well as the URA trio of Vianney Sekajugo, Cromwell Rwothomio, and Steven Desse Mukwala (injury) did not make the trip.

Uganda Cranes players in ball work during the training session at Mbale Municipal Stadium (Credit: David Isabirye)
Eastern region select team listen to head coach Godfrey Awachango a.k.a Toldo after their final training session at Mbale Municipal Stadium (Credit: David Isabirye)

The Eastern region select team is handled by Godfrey “Toldo” Awachango and will fight gallantly for a brave result on home turf.

The last outing between this region and the national team in Mbale ended 1-0 in favour of the Eastern side, then coached by the current Busoga United head coach Abbey Bogere “Capello” Kikomeko.

Toldo’s side has a rich variety of players as former Uganda U-17 national team goalkeeper Edward Kasibante, Stephen Mukumba (goalkeeper), captain Peter Lusimbula, Tiff Kahandi, Ibrahim Pengere among others.

These tours are jointly funded by Nile Breweries (under the Nile Special beer brand) and Airtel Uganda.

Uganda Cranes players walk to the field of play in Mbale for the last training session (Credit: David Isabirye)

Uganda Cranes team to Eastern Uganda:

Goalkeepers: Nafian Alionzi (URA), Simon Tamale (Soltilo Bright Stars), Jack Komakech (Vipers)

Defenders: Innocent Wafula (KCCA), Ashraf Mandela (URA), George Kaddu (Wakiso Giants), Herbert Achai (KCCA), Denis Iguma (KCCA), Geofrey Wasswa (KCCA), Musa Ramathan (KCCA), Najib Fesali (URA), Patrick Mbowa (URA)

Midfielders: Shafik Kagimu (URA), Ibrahim Wamanna (UPDF), Julius Poloto (KCCA), Joackim Ojera (URA), Mubaraka Nsubuga (Police), Ashraf Mugume (KCCA), Rogers Mato (KCCA)

Forwards: Jude Ssemugabi (Mbarara City), Brian Aheebwa (KCCA), Davis Kasirye (KCCA), Happy Sadat Anaku (KCCA)

Uganda Cranes goalkeepers pray with the goalkeeping trainer Fred Kajoba Kisitu (Credit: David Isabirye)
Eastern region players stretch their bodies after the last training session on Friday evening in Mbale (Credit: David Isabirye)

Eastern Region Select Team:

Goalkeepers: Edward Kasibante (Kataka FC), Stephen Mukamba (Mbale Heroes), Wilson Ochepa (Sky Sports)

Defenders: Stephen Namisi (Kataka), Ibrahim Pengere (Admin), Peter Lusumbula (Kataka), Robert Edmond Otim (Admin), Tiff Kahandi (Kataka), Ismail Saadi (Busia young)

Midfielders: Ivan Jakuma (Sky Sports), Francis Odong (Kataka), Bosco Lunyoro, (Mbale Heroes), Raymond Othieno (Admin), Zanuni  Mugoya (Admin), Ousama Kayemba (Kataka Academy), Fahadi Aniko (Busia Young),Bonefansio Chediko (Busia Young), Jack Obwana (Mbale Heroes)

Forwards: Lawrence Oloboro (Kataka), Edmond Wamboka (Mbale Heroes), Emmanuel Mukisa (Kataka), Muhamundu Byafula (Namusula)

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

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