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CHAN: Who are Uganda's representativesPublish Date: Jan 12, 2014
CHAN: Who are Uganda's representatives
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By Fred Kaweesi

CRANES’ Africa Nations Championship adventure that starts with a tricky fixture against Burkina Faso will be more of a learning experience for a majority of the youngsters that were roped into the team.

There is this feeling that the championship in South Africa has come too soon for three quarters of the 23-man squad selected for the assignment in Cape Town considering that most had not more than a single cap for the national team.

However, football is such an unpredictable sport and I stand to be proved wrong.

And below are the 23 players that could defy my opinion.

GOALKEEPERS

Benjamin Ochan

Club: SCVU

Strengths: He is the most experienced of the goalkeepers.

Weaknesses: He is still a work in progress.

His game reading and grip of the ball remains suspect.

Ismail Watenga

Club: Vipers

Strengths: He is a promising goalkeeper with good shot-stopping abilities.

Weaknesses: He is suspect in dealing with crosses and somewhat lightweight to shove physical strikers.

Ali Kimera

Club: SCVU

Strengths: He reacts well and has confidence while leaving his goal-line to clean up his defenders’ errors.

Weaknesses: He however needs to work on his ball distribution. He was a surprise inclusion considering that he has played second fiddle to Ochan at SCVU and has barely had a game behind his belt.

DEFENDERS

Martin Mpuga

Club: SCVU

Position: Centre-half

Strengths: He is tall and physically strong. He is willing to challenge in the air and if considered will offer the team some aerial cover against gangly opponents such as Burkina Faso. He is also enterprising. He loves to venture forward when the opportunity arises.

Weaknesses: He can be reckless in the tackle at times. He needs to work on his decision making. His adrenaline levels are also high and that forces him into unnecessary fouls.

Richard Kasaga

Club: Kira Young

Position: Centre-half

Strengths: Out of the several qualities Kasagga possesses, his best asset lies in his attitude towards the game.

This central defender plays every minute of every game as if it were his last, an asset any football manager or fan would admire.

He also has sheer physical presence that he imposes on the opposition. Kasagga is strong, determined and with a passion for the game, something that this modern age of Ugandan football lacks.

Weaknesses: He forgets to recover in time and is often caught off-guard against the run of play.

He is naturally a shy man and needs to communicate better with his defensive partners.

Isaac Muleme

Club: SCVU

Position: Left-back

Strengths: For quite some time now, he has flattered as this youngster just about to hit the peak of his career.

He might blossom into a decent full-back under Multin Sredojevic’s era considering that the Serbian is known for pushing his players to their limits—dragging the best out of them by any means.

Weaknesses: He has plenty of talent but with areas about his game to improve. He loves moving forward but seems to struggle in keeping up with fast wingers.

He also needs to work around his positional sense. 

Savio Kabugo 

Club: SCVU 

Position: Centre-half 

Strengths: His dream has always been to try and emulate former Cranes captain Ibrahim Sekagya a – defender that is intelligent, fantastic game reader and timely tackler. 

He is uncompromising in the tackle and although any coach would be happy enough with his ability with the ball at his feet, it is his calm-personified approach that caught Micho’s eye. 

Weaknesses: He is slow in recovering his defensive lines. 

He also looks heavy to be able to keep up to pace with a fast striker. 

Nicholas Wadada 

Club: Vipers 

Position: Right-back 

Strengths: With him at right-back, Vipers have often looked settled and organised. 

He exudes confidence on the ball and good ball possession. He also attacks and often recovers well. 

Weaknesses: But the youthful defender needs to improve his positional sense. 

During the CHAN return leg qualifier against Tanzania, he allowed Mrisho Ngassa so much space to run through and from one of the several opportunities, Ngassa man¬aged to find Amir Kiemba for Taifa Stars equaliser. 

Wadada will definitely find similar wingers in South Africa. 

Julius Ntambi 

Club: Kira Young 

Position: Right-back 

Strengths: Apart from his basic defensive contribu¬tions, there is not too much about him. 

Weaknesses: He is not national team material as yet. He has a lot to learn. His crossing is poor and will be more of squad player at the championship. 

MIDFIELDERS

Denis Iguma 

Club: SCVU 

Position: Holding midfield 

Strengths: Iguma surprised many by starting in an attacking role during the CHAN qualifiers and scoring from one of his adventures upfront in the first leg against Tanzania. 

He will certainly retain this role and offer Cranes some defensive cover when need be. 

Weaknesses: Since he is not a natural midfielder, he at times opts for the wrong pass. 

He also carelessly loses possession and is not fast in trying to recover. 

Ivan Ntege 

Club: KCCA 

Position: Holding midfield 

Strengths: Micho compares him to Claude Makelele – a midfielder that breaks up attacks and holds the shape of the team. He is simple, efficient and has good posi¬tional sense. 

He is an exciting box-to-box player. 

Weaknesses: He is too tiny, too short and will struggle to counter physically strong midfielders. 

Said Kyeyune 

Club: URA 

Position: Attacking midfielder 

Strengths: He offers variation to Cranes attacking play. 

He is fast, confident and intelligent enough to find his way past his marker in a split second. 

Weaknesses: He is unpredictable. He is good in one game and switches off in the other. 

He is not as effective in the role he plays. 

Allan Kyambadde 

Club: Express 

Position: Attacking midfielder 

Strengths: He is a creative midfielder that thrives be¬hind the two main strikers. Although right-footed, he can still fit in on the left side of midfield. 

Weaknesses: He is still a work in progress. He is another squad member. 

Vincent Kayizzi 

Club: Vipers 

Position: Right winger 

Strengths: He is the most experienced member on the team. He is expected to be one of Cranes ‘main routes to goal. Kayizzi’s movement is simply too clever and too quick for anyone to get close enough to him. 

Weaknesses: He looks is too heavy for a mild winger. There are also fitness con¬cerns about him. The best he can offer the team is 45 minutes. 

Yasser Mugerwa 

Club: SCVU 

Position: Attacking midfielder 

Strengths: He has good work rate. He has a passion for the game. 

Weaknesses: He is another player that needs to develop. The tournament came too early for him. 

He is always very busy but with no significant contribu¬tion. 

Brian Majwega 

Club: KCCA 

Position: Left winger 

Strengths: He operates from wide positions but also pops to devastating effect in more central positions. 

Good at step-overs and has the ability to prize-open any defence. 

Weaknesses: He is too lightweight and gives up so easily. 

Hassan Wasswa 

Club: KCCA 

Position: Holding midfielder 

Strengths: He brings fantastic athletic abilities to the midfield as his physical qualities are incredible. He is a good passer of the ball too. 

He has the size and stature to be a real handful in midfield. 

Weaknesses: He is not a wonderful passer of the ball. His fitness has also been the other issue. 

Joseph Mpande 

Club: Vipers 

Position: Attacking midfield 

Strengths: He has decent size and exciting deft touches on the ball. 

Weaknesses: The Vipers star has faded over the last months. He has yet to mature into a player that will offer competition in attack. 

FORWARDS

Asiku Crespo 

Club: BUL FC 

Position: Central striker 

Strengths: He works hard and shoots well. 

Weaknesses: A work in progress. He needs to improve his all-round game. 

Francis Olaki 

Club: Soana 

Position: Central striker 

Strengths: He has hunger and determination. His pace and eye for goal will be an asset for Cranes. He has also good movement and will be a special player. 

Weaknesses: He is lightweight for a lead striker. He gets too excited and at times forgets the ball. 

Simon Okwi 

Club: SCVU 

Position: Central striker 

Strengths: He has good size for a lead striker and is a nightmare for any defender. 

Weaknesses: Average. His eye for goal is poor. He was a surprise inclu¬sion on the team if the basis was goals scored per chances created. 

Yunus Sentamu 

Club: Vipers 

Position: Central striker 

Strengths: He has good movement around the box. 

Weaknesses: He is not an ideal finisher. He wastes so many chances.

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