Uganda Cranes Head Coach Jonathan McKinstry last week summoned a squad of 28 players to start preparations for the forthcoming 2021 African Nations Championship (CHAN).
The squad comprises of three Uganda Hippos players that won the just concluded CECAFA U20 Championship in Tanzania to directly qualify for the U-20 AFCON tournament slated for next year.
Notably, three young talents in Vipers duo, left back Aziz Kayondo and midfielder Bobos Byaruhanga alongside Proline’s striker Ivan Bogere where summoned to the squad that entered a residential camp on Sunday.
According to the Northern Irishman, their inclusion was based on their performances in the CECAFA zonal tournament and it’s their time to shine on the CHAN team.
“We felt that it was important that the top U20 players would be given their opportunity to shine on the CHAN team because that is what CHAN is all about,” McKinstry noted.
He added, “It is ultimately about young players gaining that exposure and showing their talents to the world to potentially launch successful careers for themselves. We felt that they were in the perfect position to get their chance.”
Both Byaruhanga and Kayondo established themselves a force to be reckoned with during their maiden 2019/2020 Uganda Premier League experience at the reigning champions Vipers Sports Club.
While Bogere helped Proline to win the FUFA Big League and Stanbic Uganda Cup in the 2018/2019 campaign before going on to star in the 2019/2020 CAF Confederation Cup.
The 28-man squad officially begins preparations for the CHAN tournament this evening (4pm) with a classroom session. Serious training will begin on Tuesday at a venue yet to be confirmed.
Uganda Cranes was pitted in group C of the African Nations Championship alongside Morocco, Togo, and Rwanda. The final tournament is slated for 16th January to 7th February 2021 in Cameroon.
Before the final tournament, Uganda will participate in an pre-CHAN invitational mini tournament due January 1-7, 2021 in Cameroon (Uganda, Zambia, Niger and hosts Cameroon.
The 28-man provisional squad
Goalkeepers: Joel Mutakubwa (Kyetume), Nafian Alionzi (URA), Tom Ikara (Police)
Defenders: Eric Ssenjobe (Police), Aziz Kayondo (Vipers), Derrick Ndahiro (SC Villa), Paul Willa (Vipers), Ashraf Mandela (URA), Halid Lwaliwa (Vipers), Mustafa Mujuzi (Kyetume), Patrick Mbowa (URA), Murushid Juuko (Express), Muhamood Hassan (Police)
Midfielders: Shafiq Kagimu (URA), Tony Mawejje (Police), Bobosi Byaruhanga (Vipers), Karim Watambala (Vipers), Saidi Kyeyune (URA), Hassan Ssenyonjo (Wakiso Giants)
Forwards: Ben Ocen (Police), Ibrahim Orit (Vipers), Vianne Ssekajugo (Wakiso Giants), Joseph Ssemujju (BUL), Joachim Ojera (URA), Milton Karisa (Vipers), Stephen Mukwala (URA), Mohamed Shaban (Vipers), Ivan Bogere (Proline)