By Michael Nsubuga
KAMPALA - Cranes coach Micho Sredojevic believes the 35-man squad he announced on Wednesday has what it takes to end Uganda’s 37 year wait of qualifying for the Nations Cup.
Addressing a press conference at FUFA house on Wednesday, the coach said he named a slightly bigger squad because the qualifying matches are not going to be played on official FIFA dates and does not want to take chances with some of the players who might be stopped because of club engagements.
“The national team goes beyond political or religious boundaries and I would like to thank the administrators, the fans, sponsors and the government who have supported the team all these years despite the team failing to qualify,” Micho said.
“We have selected 35 players who we believe can do the job and we are going to try and ensure we get exactly what we want from them; we shall do all it takes to make our people happy,” Micho remarked.
“We believe we have all the experience and quality to achieve what the country wants in the best way possible,”
On the inclusion of midfielder Hassan Wasswa who has gone for over 3 months without playing because of issues with his club KCCA, Micho said he had invited him to the squad because he was an important player who will be called on during the campaign.
“Wasswa, Andy Mwesigwa, Tonny Mawejje, Denis Onyango, Geoffrey Massa are the backbone of this team and their experience will be very crucial in this campaign,” Micho said.
“We have invited him because of clear sporting reasons to prepare him for the challenge in front of us, if he satisfies us he will be involved; we believe he has the abilities to serve this team, and we don’t want to be dragged into the politics involving his absence with his club,” Micho stated.
The Cranes start residential training on May 7 and plan to play a friendly match before their away engagement against Madagscar on May 17.
Notable exclusions in the team include Brian Umony who is injured and Godfrey Walusimbi who is serving a suspension for the red card he got against Senegal in the last campaign.
Goalkeepers: Denis Onyango (Wits University – South Africa), Robert Odongkara (St George – Ethiopia), Ismail Watenga (Vipers), Benjamin Ochan (SCVU, Uganda)
Defenders: Andrew Mwesigwa (Ordabasy – Kazakhstan), Savio Kabugo (SCVU), Joseph Ochaya (Asante Kototo – Ghana), Alex Kakuba (Fc Covilha, Portugal), Isaac Muleme (SCVU – Uganda), Denis Iguma (SCVU), Nicholas Wadada (Vipers – Uganda), Joseph Owino (Simba – Tanzania), Isaac Isinde (St George – Ethiopa), Henry Kalungi (Richmong Kickers), Ivan Bukenya (Kaizer Chiefs, South Africa),
Midfielders: Aucho Khalid (Gor Mahia – Kenya), Geofrey Baba Kizito (Gor Mahia – Kenya), Hassan Wasswa Mawanda (Unattached), Gaddafi Kiwanuka (KCC – Uganda), Kiziito Luwagga (Portugal), Tonny Mawejje (Haugesund, Norway), Ivan Ntege (KCC), Allan Kyambadde (Express), Moses Oloya (Binh Doung, Vietnam), Martin Mutumba (Caykur Rizespor, Turkey), Brian Majwega (KCC, Uganda)
Strikers: Geofrey Massa (Pretoria University, South Africa), Emmanuel Okwi (Yanga – TZ), Hamis Kizza (Yanga -TZ), Dan Sserunkuma (Gor Mahia), Tonny Odur, Herman Wasswa (KCC, Uganda), Francis Olaki (Soana – Uganda) and Yunus Sentamu (As Vita, DR Congo).
Micho optimistic about Cranes'' AFCON chances