Cranes coach Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojevic on Wednesday named the final 23-man squad that will represent Uganda at the Africa Cup of Nations in Gabon. Unlike some countries that did not name any n local league based player, Micho included six local talents to the national squad.
In our AFCON Group D, only Egypt has more local league than the Cranes. Black Stars Ghana has only one and Mali has two local league players. This can be based on the standards of their local leagues or countries having numerous more talented players playing in Europe. The Egyptian league is way more prolific than any other in the Group with local clubs dominating continental tournaments and supplying the national squad with stars.
Nicholas Wadada is Cranes’ definition of a Johnny-come-lately. He didn’t feature in the Afcon qualifiers until the final game at Namboole, where he took advantage of a teammate’s suspension to grab his position into the squad. After an impressive performance, the Vipers SC captain appeared to have nailed his starting berth and a ticket to AFCON is more than he had imagined.
Last year’s Azam UPL” Player of the year” Joseph Ochaya has been outstanding at left back since he grabbed his first national team call-up in 2012. Ochaya is a full back who likes to attack, with a potent delivery from set pieces. This is another one for whom solid performances could open doors to professional football.
Timothy Awany, born on August 6 1996, is versatile when it comes to his playing positions. He plays his club football at KCCA and even if he has been in and around the national team set-up, he is yet to nail his place in the team. Keep your fingers crossed for this one!
Hassan Wasswa Mawanda
Hassan Wasswa Mawanda is Cranes ‘Mr. Versatile’. You could play him in defence, midfield, possibly even in the attack and be sure he will give 100%. A journeyman who has played for at least five clubs in the last five years Wasswa is another ‘undroppable’ veteran on the team having got his debut in 2006.
The oldest player in the squad at 33, Sserunkuma’s years have not diminished. He has a knack for scoring crucial goals. It is 15 years since the veteran made his national team debut back in 2002. Sserunkuma plays for KCCA, but he has also played in Ethiopia and South Africa.
Onduparaka’s new kid on the block and controversial 2016 Fufa footballer of the year Muhammad Shaban is a young talent that could take the African continent by storm—if he gets his chance in Gabon. A striker that lives on making life unbearable for defenders, 18-year-old Shaban can be glad for simply getting the experience.