Uganda Cranes head coach Sebastien Desabre kept many guessing which players would make the final 2019 AFCON 23 man team.
On Tuesday 11th June 2019, Desabre officially released one of the most sought-after lists in Uganda.
The Frenchman secretly kept the cards closest to his chest and many, including those camped at the team’s Rotana base in Abu Dhabi were left perplexed.
There are no major shock exclusions made by Uganda’s technical team as 15 of the players who played at the previous AFCON finals all return.
Virtually, three thirds of the team that played at AFCON 2017 in Gabon will return to Egypt.
Team skipper Dennis Onyango, the first choice for country and his Mamelodi Sundowns club returns unscathed among the 23 players.
The two other goalkeepers Robert Odongkara and Jamal Salim Omar Magoola, who also were in Gabon are on the official list to Egypt.
The returning faces include Azam FC’s right back, Nico Wakiro Wadada, Simba’s Murushid Jjuuko, Joseph Ochaya of TP Mazembe, KCCA defender Timothy Denis Awany and two unattached entities in Hassan Wasswa Mawanda and Godfrey “Jajja Walu” Walusimbi will all play at Africa’s biggest sporting fiesta for the second successive time.
The backline has only three new faces in Ostersunds’ Brian Ronald Ddungu Mukiibi, KCCA’s Timothy Denis Awanya and Yeovil Town’s Bevis Mugabi.
In midfield, the returning parties are Montreal Impact’s Mike Azira, William Kizito Luwagga (Shakhter Karagandy, Kazakhstan), Khalid Aucho (Church Hill Brothers, India) and Faruku Miya (HNK Gorica, Croatia).
The new midfielders who did not feature at AFCON 2017 are; Allan Kateregga (Maritzburg, South Africa), Abdul Lumala (Syrianska, Sweden), Tadeo Lwanga (Vipers SC-Uganda).
Injury and sickness woes:
Stylish midfielder Moses Waiswa’s knee concerns ruled the Vipers’ play maker out of the tournament.
Another injured player left out is burly forward Alexis David Bbakka who features at Carlstad United in Sweden.
KCCA’s Ibrahim Sadam Juma has been dogged by malaria for the previous seven days and sadly fails to make the list.
There is no place for Ethiopian based utility player Kirizestom Ntambi who is deemed as excess baggage in a crowded midfield department.
Uganda Cranes played to a goal-less draw with Asian light weight opposition Turkmenistan at the New York University Stadium.
Uganda will play the final build up against Cote D’Ivoire this coming Saturday, 15th June 2019 before flying to Egypt for the biennial continental showpiece.
Uganda is housed in group A alongside Hosts Egypt, Democratic Republic of Congo and Zimbabwe.
Uganda Cranes final 23 man Team:
Goalkeepers: Denis Onyango (Mamelodi Sundowns, South Africa), Jamal Salim (Al Hilal-Sudan), Robert Odongkara (Adama City, Ethiopia)
Defenders: Nico Wakiro Wadada (Azam, Tanzania), Brian Ronald Ddungu Mukiibi (Ostersunds, Sweden), Murushid Jjuuko (Simba, Tanzania), Bevis Mugabi (Yeovil Town, England), Isaac Muleme (FK Viktoria Zizkov, Czech Republic), Hassan Wasswa Mawanda (Un attached), Joseph Ochaya (TP Mazembe, DR Congo), Timothy Denis Awanyi (KCCA FC, Uganda), Godfrey Walusimbi (Un-attached)
Midfielders: Mike Azira (Montreal Impact, Canada), Allan Kateregga (Maritzburg, South Africa), William Kizito Luwagga (Shakhter Karagandy, Kazakhstan), Khalid Aucho (Church Hill Brothers, India), Faruku Miya (HNK Gorica, Croatia), Abdul Lumala (Syrianska, Sweden), Tadeo Lwanga (Vipers SC-Uganda)
Strikers: Patrick Henry Kaddu (KCCA FC, Uganda), Derrick Nsibambi (Smouha, Egypt), Allan Kyambadde (KCCA FC Uganda), Emmanuel Arnold Okwi (Simba, Tanzania)