Uganda Cranes coach Milutin “Micho’ Sredojevic has included midfielder Moses Waiswa and uncapped Express FC goalkeeper Denis Otim on his squad of 22 players that will travel to Ethiopia on Thursday evening.
The Cranes team that comprises three goalkeepers, eight defenders, five midfielders and six forwards will kick start the final leg of their preparations for their 2023 African Nations Championship (CHAN) qualifiers.
Waiswa is eligible to play at the tournament that is exclusive to only players playing in their respective domestic leagues after completing a move to KCCA FC in June.
While an improved performance and greater influence with the Red Eagles have put Otim in line for his first national appearance.
Though the 22-year-old faces stiff competition from Alionzi Nafian who was part of the Cranes squad for the 2020 CHAN in Cameroon.
KCCA defender John Revita, who was part of the team that qualified for the previous CHAN tournament, but missed out on playing at the finals through a knee ligament injury has been recalled as well.
Gavin Kizito, Kenneth Ssemakula, Derrick Ndahiro and young KCCA defender Ibrahim Saddam Juma are also part of the team.
The squad includes four Vipers players including Livingstone Mulondo, Marvin Youngman, Siraje Ssentamu and Milton Karisa despite only joining camp on Wednesday.
However, Halid Lwaliwa and Vipers teammate Bobosi Byaruhanga are not part of the team, as the two chase moves abroad, while Yunus Ssentamu did not appear for camp despite being summoned.
“Lwaliwa and Byaruhanga are in process of securing visas to go for professional stints but confirmation about the teams will come from Vipers SC,” Micho explained.
“Yunus Ssentamu already communicated in advance that he has private issues and we respect his decision but we hope to consider him in future engagements.”
“Additionally, some players had Passport issues and thus could not travel with us but I’m confident the team named will do a good job,” he stated.
The Cranes are expected to pitch camp in Ethiopia’s Adama city where they will play two friendly games on Friday and Sunday, before holding an acclimatization camp in Zanzibar.
“I need to give credit to the players that have worked really hard in training since we entered the camp,” Micho said.
“And now we enter the second stage which is checking match fitness and this will be tested in friendly matches against Ethiopia,” he continued.
Uganda, who will be aiming to reach their sixth consecutive CHAN finals face a two-legged playoff round qualifier against rivals and neighbours Tanzania.
The first leg against Tanzania will be played on Sunday, 28th August in Dar es Salaam while the return leg will happen on 3rd September at St. Mary’s Stadium, Kitende.
The winner on aggregate between Uganda and Tanzania will then qualify for the final tournament slated for January 2023 in Algeria.
Uganda Cranes Squad
Goalkeepers: Nafian Alionzi (URA FC), Denis Otim (Express FC), Mathias Muwanga (Onduparaka FC)
Defenders: Livingstone Mulondo (Vipers SC), Kenneth Ssemakula (SC Villa), John Revita (KCCA FC), Walter Ochora (BUL FC), Gavin Kizito Mugweri (SC Villa), James Begisa (URA FC), Ibrahim Juma (KCCA FC), Derrick Ndahiro (URA FC)
Midfielders: Joseph Marvin Youngman (Vipers SC), Siraje Ssentamu (Vipers SC), Saidi Kyeyune (URA FC), Moses Waiswa (KCCA FC), Isma Mugulusi (SC Villa)
Forwards: Milton Karisa (Vipers SC), Travis Mutyaba (SC Villa), Rogers Mato (KCCA FC), Martin Kizza (Express FC), Richard Basangwa (Gaddafi FC), Hakim Kiwanuka (Proline FC)