KAMPALA: Police FC midfielder Juma Balinnya was the last player to join Uganda Cranes squad of local-based players currently taking part in non-residential training ahead of the 2019 African Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifier against Tanzania later this month.
On Wednesday, Vipers’ players Taddeo Lwanga, Daniel Sserunkuma, Moses Waiswa and Proline’s Mustafa Mujuzi and Bright Anukani also joined the squad.
Balinya teamed up with 26 others who will take part in a regional tour game against Kampala Regional select on Saturday at the StarTimes Stadium in Lugogo. Thereafter, nine players will be selected to join the 15 foreign-based players summoned for a week long training camp in Ismaila, Egypt before they fly to Tanzania to face the Taifa Stars on March 24.
The midfielder was on Thursday rested after taking part in his side’s 4-2 win over Paidha Black Angels in the Uganda Premier League (UPL), a game in which he bagged a hatrick.
And the form of the UPL top scorer, with 16 goals, is one of the things that have excited cranes headcoach Sebastien Desabre.
“I have been following him for quite some time now; he is a really good and talented player. His body language is really important and he is a positive lad,” said Desabre.
The headcoach also seemed happy with the mood of the players in training adding that despite the limited time they have had in training, he is happy because it gives him an opportunity to prepare for the 2020 African Championships (CHAN) qualifiers.
“We have two targets at the same time; the Afcon last group qualifier which will lead us to the final tournament in Egypt and the CHAN 2020 preparation,” added Desabre.
Vipers’ midfielder Waisswa Moses, who saw his break through into the senior side this year, relishes the opportunity given to him by the national team coaches to prove himself.
“Surely there is alot of competition and intensity in training because every player is trying to prove himself. But I also have my own ambitions to fulfill that’s why I want to work as hard so that I can justify my inclusion on the team,” the Fufa player of the year said.
Desabre also revealed that Dennis Iguma and Borrusia Dortmund’s Herbert Bockhorn have been excluded from the list of professional players due to injuries with Ethiopian based Chrizestom Ntambi named as a replacement for Iguma. The replacement for Bockhorn yet to be named.
Also missing are defenders Rashid Toha (Onduparaka) and Halid Lwaliwa (Vipers) due to injury.
Cranes already sealed qualification to the 2019 Afcon final tournament that will take place in Cairo Egypt.