The Cranes will make a second consecutive appearance at the Africa Nations Championship (CHAN) finals in South Africa thanks to a gallant performance that ended Taifa Stars’ quest for a spot. On Saturday July 27, Micho’s charges completed a double over Kim Poulsen’s Tanzania with a 3-1 victory to advance 4-1 on aggregate after Denis Guma’s lone strike had given the Cranes the initiative from the first leg in Dar es Salam two weeks ago.
As the Cranes and country at large celebrate this triumph, Kawowo Sports’ Ismael Kiyonga traces the whereabouts of the 20 man squad that represented Uganda at the 2011 edition held in Khartoum, Sudan. At the tournament, Cranes lost all three games against Algeria (2-0), Sudan (1-0) and Gabon (2-1). Most notably, the team got three red cards at the tournament. Let’s get started;
Hamza Muwonge: He was Cranes first choice goalie at the tournament. He is most remembered for that howler that gifted hosts Sudan the goal that sent the Cranes packing. He currently features for Vipers SC (Bunamwaya SC) and still part of the Cranes team. He was the man between the posts in both games against Tanzania.
Yasin Mugabi: He made no appearance at the games but was second choice behind Muwonge. He is currently at Uganda Revenue Authority (URA FC). Since then, he earned a call for the 2012 Tusker Challenge Cup but was not named in Bobby Williamson’s final squad for the tournament.
Denis Guma: Playing for SC Villa then, Guma was an upcoming defender who was behind Ivan Bukenya, Derrick Walulya, Jimmy Mukubya and Edward Ssali in the pecking order but played against Sudan and Gabon. He still exists in the national team fold and commands a starting berth at either right back or central midfield. He is part of the team that eliminated Tanzania and his effect was felt as he scored the only goal in the odd 1-0 away to Taifa Stars. He currently plies his trade at SC Victoria University.
Ivan Bukenya: The big lad was a Proline FC defender then and made the squad following a fine season with the club. He has since moved to Iraq and recently earned a call up in the Cranes team that was preparing for 2014 World Cup qualifiers against Liberia and Angola but was dropped after a poor performance in the 0-3 loss to Libya in a friendly in June. He is currently undergoing trials at South Africa Premiership side Kaizer Chiefs.
Manko Kaweesa: He was the URA FC skipper then and one of the best defensive midfielders in the league. He was part of the 2012 Cecafa Tusker winning squad but was ignored for Chan qualifiers against Tanzania. He plies his trade at SC Victoria University at the moment.
Ibrahim Saddam Juma: He scored the only goal that Cranes managed in the tournament; a penalty against Gabon in the final group game but has since lost form. Once seen as Uganda’s solution to creative midfield, the former KKL star is now at SC Villa (FSL faction) after SC Victoria University terminated his contract. He was summoned in the squad that was preparing for 2012 Cecafa Tusker Cup but never made the final squad.
Noah Ssemakula: Like Juma, Ssemakula was also named for the tournament to fill the creative midfield role. Playing at SC Villa then, the lad once touted the ‘new Obua’ by ex-Cranes Coach Mike Mutebi has not been called to the team since then. He is at SC Victoria University at the moment.
Ceaser Okhuti: He was one of the hottest strikers then playing for Bunamwaya SC (now Vipers SC). Like other strikers on the team, he failed to find the back of the net and his form has been average since then. He was part of the initial squad summoned in preparation for the qualifiers against Tanzania but injury ruled him out.
Jimmy Mukubya: He was among the first choice centre backs on the team but was to blame for some of the goals Cranes conceded at the tournament. By then, he was playing for URA FC but his whereabouts are not clear though he is rumored to be playing in Rwanda.
Derrick Walulya: One of the senior players on the team, Walulya was playing for URA FC then. He featured in all three games and joined Simba after the tournament. He was however dropped by the Msimbazi and is now plying his trade at URA FC. He has not been summoned for national duty for the last one year.
Habib Kavuma: In the absence Godfrey Walusimbi who was reported to be in Angola (forcing a move to Petro Atlético Luanda), the Bunamwaya SC defender filled the left fullback position at the finals. His most telling contribution was a red card against Gabon in the final game. Kavuma who currently plays for KCC FC is still part of the national team and featured in the 3-1 over Tanzania last Saturday.
Mike Mutyaba: A Bunamwaya SC player then, Mutyaba played on the wings at the tournament. He still maintained his place on the Cranes and played in the 2012 AFCON qualifier against Harambee Stars of Kenya at Namboole in October. He earned a move to Sudan’s El-Merrickh then but injuries combined with self confusion have contributed to his loss of form and slowly getting the ‘tag of wasted talent’. His last appearance for Cranes came in the 0-2 loss to Liberia in March and has not been summoned since then. He plays for former Africa Champions TP Mazembe but rarely earns a spot in the match day squad.
Simeon Masaba: He captained the team at the competition. The right fullback has been part of the national team till recently when injuries appear to have forced retirement and records though not clear indicate he is Uganda’s most capped player. He is currently at URA FC but his contract is unlikely to be renewed.
Yuda Mugalu: He was one of the three strikers on the team playing for Victors FC then. He has since played for DC Motema Pembe (DR Congo) and joined KCC FC last season but was loaned to Victors FC six months later without netting a league goal for the Lugogo side.
Owen Kasule: A Bunamwaya SC player and has since had stints in Vietnam but currently plays for URA FC. He was part of the team preparing to face Tanzania in the 2014 Chan qualifiers was later dropped. He got marching orders in the opener against Algeria.
Simon Sserunkuma: Whatever happened to this once promising talent!!! The SC Villa midfielder then later joined Vipers SC but made meager appearances for the club. He moved to Canada to try pursuing a deal but is believed to be back in the country.
Edward Ssali: A surprise inclusion on the team given diagnosis showed he had a heart problem. He still plays for Vipers SC
Ayub Kisaliita: The SC Villa utility player was on the bench for both qualifiers against Tanzania.
Tony Odur: Like Kasule and Kavuma, the Bunamwaya SC striker then also got a red card at the tournament in the 2-0 loss to Algeria. Perhaps, that is the only thing he is remembered for at the tournament. He has however been in and out of the Cranes fold but was part of the team that halted Tanzania though injury ruled him out of the second leg tie.