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Senkatuka determined to seize Cranes chance

By Fred Kaweesi

Added 8th January 2018 08:10 AM

On Saturday, Senkatuka came off the bench and earned Cranes a vital equaliser

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On Saturday, Senkatuka came off the bench and earned Cranes a vital equaliser

Cranes friendly games

Uganda 1 Guinea 1

Tuesday

Uganda v Congo

Uganda Cranes CHAN fixtures (Group B)

January 14

Uganda v Zambia

January 18

Uganda v Namibia

January 22

Uganda v Ivory Coast

How times change! Four years ago, Nelson Senkatuka was offered an internship to train with the Cranes in the build-up to the 2014 Africa Nations Championship (CHAN).

The 20-year-old, turning out for Southern Counties East League Division One club Erith & Belvedere Football Club back then, was certainly ineligible for the championship designed for players based in domestic leagues.

But even if he was eligible, Senkatuka was not  good enough for the national team. All he had was passion for the game and a dream to represent his country.

Years later, Senkatuka chose to abandon the comfort that came with playing in better facilities in the United Kingdom and worked so hard to improve certain qualities of his game with local clubs Proline and Bright Stars.

The rough diamond that could not even stand on the same pitch with the likes of Geoffrey Massa or Emmanuel Okwi, has steadily improved and could soon prove to be the finished article.

 The team that played against Guinea

On Saturday, Senkatuka came off the bench and earned Cranes a vital equaliser in the 75th minute after Camara Saidouba had helped Guinea to the lead in the first of two friendly games ahead of the CHAN championship that starts on Saturday.

Senkatuka later tweeted: “I am delighted to have scored my first international goal for the Uganda Cranes in yesterday’s draw against Guinea. It is a special feeling. Hopefully, it is the first of many to come. (There is) a lot of work to do and areas in my game to improve on. (I will take it one step at a time.”

The goal must have alerted Cranes’ coach Sebastien Desabre of Senkatuka’s precious predatory instincts and in the process also left the Frenchman with some food-for-thought considering that the likes of Mohammad Shaban and Derrick Nsibambi are ahead of him on the back of the old scorecard.

But it is early days. Cranes battle Congo Brazzaville tomorrow in the final friendly that will offer opportunities to the rest.

Desabre’s preferred X1 against Guinea:

B.Ochan, N.Wadada, I.Muleme, T.Awanyi, B.Muwanga, T.Lwanga, M.Karisa (M.Shaban), M.Waiswa (R.Senfuka), D.Nsibambi (N.Senkatuka), S.Juma (M.Mutyaba), A.Kyambadde (A.Kasule)

Squad in Morocco:

Goalkeepers:

Ochan Benjamin, Ismael Watenga and Saidi Keni

Defenders:

Nicholas Wadada, Joseph Nsubuga, Timothy Awany, Bernard Muwanga, Mustapha Mujjuzi, Aggrey Madoi, Isaac Muleme, Mustapha Kizza

Midfielders:

Milton Karisa, Paul Mucurezi, Allan Kyambadde, Seif Batte, Rahmat Senfuka, Abubaker Kasule, Tadeo Lwanga, Moses Waisswa, Saddam Juma, Muzamil Mutyaba, Tom Masiko

Strikers:

Shaban Muhammad, Derrick Nsibambi, Nelson Senkatuka

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