KAMPALA: Uganda Cranes Head Coach Sebastien Desabre days ago named which players will represent the country in the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt.
There were a few surprises in the 23-man squad with the inclusion of Abdu Lumala and Ronald Mukiibi who are new faces on the team.
We look more closely at all the players involved:
(Age: 34, Caps: 70, Club: Mamelodi Sundowns, South Africa)
Arguably the most reliable player in the current squad. He is the captain of the team and kept five clean sheets out of the six games played in qualification stage. His ability to play the ball long and being comfortable with the ball at his feet could be just as important as his safe hands.
(Age: 29, Caps: 29, Club: Adama City, Ethiopia)
He will be the second choice goalkeeper. His height and physical stature is good for any goalkeeper a club would want. When Onyango retires from the national team, Ondongkara will become number one He also featured in the 1-1 draw with Mali in the 2017 Afcon in Gabon.
Salim Jamal Magoola
(Age: 24, Caps: 6, Club: Al Hilal, Sudan)
At just 24, he still has a lot to learn from the two top goalkeepers. He has been the number one goalkeeper for Al Hilal who had a decent run in the Caf Champions League. He will the third choice.
Nico Wakiro Wadada
(Age: 24, Caps: 54, Club: Azam, Tanzania)
The right-back featured in all the qualifiers and he is well-known for his commitment in the attacking option more than his primary role of defending. He is good in providing the cut-back crosses.
Brian Ronald Ddungu Mukiibi
(Age: 27, Caps: 0, Club: Ostersunds, Sweden)
A new member in the set-up likely to make his debut in the central defence or right-back. Yet to wear the Cranes jersey at any competitive level.
(Age: 25, Caps: 35, Club: Simba SC, Tanzania)
A regular starter with his consistent good performances, also good at the long balls from the back to the wings on the pitch. Has plenty of suitors but fitness and injury problems have disturbed his career.
(Age: 24, Caps: 2, Club: Yeovil Town, England)
The central defender brings self-belief and physical stature any striker wouldn’t prefer to face. Also calm with the ball under pressure when playing from the back and superb in set pieces. He has been tested on the right-back position throughout the build-ups.
(Age: 26, Caps: 37, Club: FK Viktoria Zizkov, Czech Republic)
A natural left-back who has failed to secure a starting role in the team. Usually third choice behind Jjaja Walu and Ochaya. He’s sometimes converted to a left winger and helps in tracking back.
Hassan Wasswa Mawanda
(Age: 31, Caps: 75, Club: Unattached)
Despite not having played competitive football for the season, he is still picked and likely to start because of his experience and physique. A versatile player who can play in central defence and defensive midfield. He is the vice-captain.
Joseph Benson Ochaya
(Age: 25, Caps: 51, Club: TP Mazembe, DR Congo)
Usually played at the left wing because of his delicious crosses he puts in the box for the strikers. His effectiveness in the final third and footwork in tight spaces around the box is unmatched.
Timothy Denis Awanyi
(Age: 22, Caps: 25, Club: KCCA FC, Uganda)
Probably the best central defender in the Uganda Premier League. He’s good in the air and on one against one situations but the pecking order may not favour him.
(Age: 29, Caps: 99, Club: Un-attached)
Despite not having a team since January, he remains the most experienced outfield player and has never been made to sweat over his starting place at left-back. He is most likely to start.
(Age: 31, Caps: 5, Club: Montreal Impact, Canada)
Had his last cap in Afcon 2017; weren’t convincing performances but surely must have improved since then.
(Age: 25, Caps: 8, Club: Maritzburg, South Africa)
A good left foot who can play number 10 behind the forward. Can also operate on the right or left-hand wing and effective in most systems. Hasn’t got much playing time on the team.
William Kizito Luwagga
(Age: 25, Caps: 41, Club: Shakhter Karagandy, Kazakhstan)
Last featured for Cranes during Micho’s time and can only have improved from that time. He is blessed with great pace and dribbling ability a good winger would have.
(Age: 25, Caps: 43, Club: Church Hill Brothers, India)
An established member in the side with his experience and his defensive midfield abilities aren’t questionable. Capable of playing long ball up forward the pitch.
(Age: 21, Caps: 57, Club: HNK Gorica, Croatia)
Has proved his worth with a key role in Desabre’s side and will be eyeing the chance to turn in again some defining performances at this level, most likely a few goals. He is an occasional captain at a young age and was our top scorer in the qualification campaign with three goals.
(Age: 21, Caps: 0, Club: Syrianska, Sweden)
A new member in the squad who Ugandans are excited to see what he can offer.
(Age: 25, Caps: 11, Club: Vipers SC, Uganda)
Hailed by Desabre as the best defensive midfielder in the Uganda Premier League. Brave in the tackle but there will be concerns over his ability at the big stage.
Patrick Henry Kaddu
(Age: 23, Caps: 6, Club: KCCA FC, Uganda)
Has a strong relationship with Desabre having given him his debut. He’s hardworking, disciplined and good at set-pieces. Most likely to start in Desabre’s team as the forward.
(Age: 24, Caps: 21, Club: Smouha, Egypt)
Left KCCA over a year ago to go to Egypt and must have only improved since then. His hold up play is good and capable of creating something out of nothing.
(Age: 23, Caps: 13, Club: KCCA FC, Uganda)
Valued most for his discipline, pace and reliability but he may have to settle for a lesser role in the team.
Emmanuel Arnold Okwi
(Age: 26, Caps: 68, Club: Simba SC, Tanzania)
Experienced player who has featured in may leagues and a serial winner. He can play both wings and as a forward. His willingness to sprint forward with the ball and winning fouls in danger zones is next to none and also capable of scoring goals that help the team.