Chris Pius Akena on his way to Baghdad, Iraq to link up with the Uganda Cranes team

International Build ups:

  • Friday, 21st January 2022: Iraq Vs Uganda Cranes – Baghdad
  • Thursday, 27th January 2022: Bahrain Vs Uganda Cranes – Manama

Uganda Cranes head coach Milutin “Micho” Sredojevic made the decision to summon United Arab Emirates (UAE) based midfielder Chris Pius Akena for the two international build up matches against Iraq and Bahrain.

After playing three international build up matches in Turkey, Uganda Cranes traveled to Iraq capital Baghdad where they play the hosts on Friday, 21st January 2022 with the final build up match against Bahrain coming six days later.

Akena, a left footed stylish midfielder at Ahly Shabab is therefore destined to make his long awaited debut following the earlier unsuccessful summon where the Uganda Cranes was supposed to play Gabon and Mauritania in Dubai during two pre-AFCON 2021 build-ups.

These matches were cancelled at the 11th hour after flights from Entebbe International Airport had been halted temporarily due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

Chris Pius Akena with his luggage in transit to Iraq

For a long time, Micho has wanted to see Akena capped for the Uganda Cranes after impressive displays at his club that lured interest from UAE as well.

Akena has formerly played at Pro-Way Soccer Academy, Maroons and the Qatar Aspire Programme before joining Ahly Shabab in January 2021.

It is yet to be established where defender Kenneth Ssemakula who suffered a stomach infection upon arrival in Turkey has traveled to Asia.

Uganda Cranes played Iceland (1-1), Romanian top flight side FC Botosani (2-2) and overcame Moldova 3-2 after a two goal deficit during the three international build ups played in Turkey.

These international build ups are early preparatory means for Uganda Cranes ahead of the CHAN and AFCON 2023 qualifiers.

Uganda Cranes Team to Iraq:

Goalkeepers: Isma Bin Rashid Watenga, Benjamin Ochan, Charles Lukwago

Outfield players: Gavin Kizito Mugweri, Abdu Aziz Kayondo, Enock Walusimbi, Halid Lwaliwa, Ashraf Mugume, Bobosi Byaruhanga, Travis Mutyaba, Milton Karisa, Yunus Junior Sentamu, Henry Patrick Kaddu, Innocent Esimu Wafula, Eric Ssenjobe, Najib Fesali, George Kasonko, Rogers Mato, Bright Anukani, Steven Mukwala, Martin Kizza, Muhammad Shaban

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

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