Uganda Cranes officially started their preparations for African Nations Championship (CHAN) on Monday with the team entering residential camp at Cranes Paradise Hotel, Kisasi.

Of the 40 players summoned, 24 turned up for the first training session conducted at Kampala Quality Primary School Playground.

Majority of the absentees are from Uganda Premier League Champions Vipers SC who have engagements in the coming days.

Coach Milutin Sredojevic aka Micho confirmed that they gave more time to players from Vipers who still have club assignments.

“Vipers SC are preparing for CAF Champions League and they will have a couple of friendly games with Yanga FC from Tanzania and maybe Arrows FC (Zambia) and APR(Rwanda). We believe these games will even put the players in better shape and by the time they join us, they will be ready,” he said.

About the first training session, Micho was quick to mention that the opening sessions will be aimed at lifting the fitness levels of players.

“We are in off season and most of the teams have just resumed training. Therefore, we want to use the first few days to work on the fitness levels of players. By 15th August, we shall be looking at having practice games so that we enter the competitive phase and get ready for the first game on 27th August,” he added.

He also confirmed that the team will have practice games later on.

“We shall continue training up to around 15th August and then get some friendly matches to continue gauging the progress of the team.”

Cranes players during training | Fufa Photo

Uganda will play the winner on aggregate between Somalia and Tanzania at the final qualification hurdle.

Tanzania have the advantage in the above tie having won the first leg 1-0.

The first leg will take place between 26th -28th August while Uganda will host the return leg on 3rd September at St. Mary’s Stadium, Kitende.

Uganda is seeking to play at the final tournament for a sixth time have featured in the previous five editions (2011, 2014, 2016, 2018 and 2020).

Players currently in camp

Goalkeepers: Nafian Alionzi (URA FC), Emmanuel Kalyowa (BUL FC), Denis Otim (Express FC), Mathias Muwanga (Onduparaka FC)

Defenders: Najib Fesali (URA FC), Joseph Bright Vuni (Arua Hill SC), Kenneth Ssemakula (SC Villa), Walter Ochora (BUL FC), Gavin Kizito Mugweri (SC Villa), James Begisa (URA FC), Hillary Onek (BUL FC), Brian Mato (Proline FC), Derrick Ndahiro (URA FC), George Kaddu (Wakiso Giants FC)

Midfielders: George Kasonko (BUL FC), Titus Ssematimba(Wakiso Giants FC), Saidi Kyeyune (URA FC), Simon Peter Oketch (BUL FC)

Forwards: Travis Mutyaba (SC Villa), Moses Aliro (Wakiso Giants FC), Isma Mugulusi (Unattached), Martin Kizza (Express FC), Richard Basangwa (Gaddafi FC), Oscar Mawa (SC Villa)

Joel Muyita is a senior staff writer at Kawowo Sports.

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