By Swalley Kenyi
22 players including Tanzania-based striker Brian Umony have been called up to the Uganda Cranes squad to start training on Monday for the next wave of 2015 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.
Umony who has fought a lengthy fitness battle, returns to the squad that was announced on Thursday during the launch of the inaugural ‘Cranes na Mutima’ campaign in Kampala.
The squad is composed of home based and professional players currently on holiday in the country and will be joined by foreign-based players later on.
Midfielder Hassan Wasswa who faced plenty of criticism for his performances in the qualifier away to Madagascar has been dropped from the squad.
Cranes will take on 2012 AFCON quarter finalists Equatorial Guinea on July 19 at Namboole Stadium.
In the next fortnight, the Cranes will tour Western and North Eastern Uganda in a bid to garner a bigger fan base for the national team.
Funded by sponsors Nile Special to the tune of about sh200m, the nationwide campaign starts on the weekend of June 27 and July 4 in Mbarara and Soroti respectively.
Flanked by Nile Special brand manager Isaac Sekasi, FUFA technical director Asuman Lubowa, financial director Decolas Kizza and the federation chief executive Edgar Watson said that the ‘Cranes na Mutima’ campaign will also provide the technical staff with a wide basket of players to pick for national engagements.
“From this tour, we intend to achieve more than one target. We shall be rallying for the Cranes but the technical team will be on the lookout for the best of players in the regions for possible sermon for national duty,” Watson said.
Under the campaign, the Uganda Cranes will tour all the eight FUFA regions where they will play friendly matches against the best of players in the regions.
Sekasi said that Nile Special will fully fund each region to train, feed, accommodate and facilitate players and officials among other needs before they play the national team.
“Our hope is that the tour will bring on board new fans to support the Uganda Cranes. As the 12th player we always play a big role in the destiny and fortune of our team,” Sekasi said.
Robert Odongkara, Benjamin Ochan, Ismael Watenga, Nicholas Wadada, Denis Iguma, Isaac Muleme, Benjamin Majwega, Richard Kassaga, Savio Kabugo, Isaac Isinde, Murshid Jjuko, Ivan Ntege, Allan Kyambadde, Muzamil Mutyaba, Gadaffi Kiwanuka, Faruk Miya, William Wadri, Joseph Ochaya, Emmanuel Okwi, Hamis Kiiza, Brian Umony, Francis Olaki
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Brian Umony returns to the Cranes fold