Burkina Faso Vs Uganda: Who is who in the Cranes squad? | AFCON 2017 Qualifiers

The Uganda Cranes last appeared in the African Cup of Nations finals way back in 1978 when they were held in Accra Ghana, long before none of the current crop of stars were born.

The soccer fraternity still awaits that day to when the Cranes play at the finals again but the 2017 Gabon finals seem reachable after the Cranes top group D with maximum points after two games.

Heading into the back to back tie against Burkina Faso, the national team Coach Mulitin ‘Micho’ Sredojevic revealed his team for the away tie on Saturday March 26, 2016 with little changes expected in the home tie three days later.

Kawowo Sports Ismael Kiyonga looks at squad to spearhead Uganda’s qualification campaign in Ouagadougou.

Goalkeepers:

Denis Onyango

denis onyango

Club: Mamelodi Sundowns (South Africa)

Age: 30

He is the country’s undisputed number one and arguably the best in Africa. Onyango is a fine shot stopper who reads the game well and organizes his defence excellently.

He has enormous experience having had a national team career dating back to ten years ago amassing over 50 caps and is yet to concede in the campaign.

Before Mamelodi, Onyango played for SC Villa, St. George in Ethiopia, SuperSport in South Africa and Mpumalanga Black Aces.

Robert Odongkara

robert odongkara

Club: St. George (Ethiopia)

Age: 26

He started his career in Entebbe where he attracted the likes of SC Villa to sign him in 2008. He has all the attributes of a good goalkeeper; tall, agile and a good game reader as well. He is deputy to Onyango since 2010 but perhaps unfortunate to be born in this era for he would be first choice.

He currently plies his trade with St. George in Ethiopia where he has won a number of trophies since 2011. He has over 22 caps on the national team albeit most coming in CECAFA.

Defenders

Denis Iguma

denis iguma

Club: Al Ahed (Lebanon)

Age: 22

At his age, he may not be natural but Iguma has made the right back position his own since Simeon Masaba was phased out. The Al Ahed versatile star can play everywhere on the field; across the back four as well as central midfield as witnessed at CHAN 2014 finals in South Africa.

He has previously played for SC Villa and SC Victoria University in Uganda.

Joseph Ochaya

cecafa joseph ochaya vs burundi

Club: KCCA (Uganda)

Age: 22

An entertaining talented left full back who normally gets on score sheet via dead balls situation. Lazy looking but as hard as an iron. Superb ball control, dribbling, crossing and passing are some of his secret weapons.  His only undoing is over carrying the ball and poor heading plus questionable decision making.

He is one of the two local based players on the team. He has previously played for Navi Bank Saigon in Vietnam and Asante Kotoko in Ghana before returning to KCCA where it all started six years ago.

Godfrey Walusimbi

godfrey walusimbi vs bot

Club: Gor Mahia (Kenya)

Age: 26

He made his debut in 2010 against Angola in the 2012 AFCON qualifiers campaign and has never looked back. The Gor Mahia star is versatile and has featured as a left winger at times for his club and Uganda Cranes. What he lacks in size, he offers upstairs. A natural successor for retired left back Nestroy Kizito in all aspects.

Wazza as famously known has played for SC Villa, Bunamwaya (current Vipers) and DR Congo’s Don Bosco and at national level, he has more than 30 caps at his age.

Timothy Awanyi

timothy awany vs gabon

Club: KCCA (Uganda)

Age: 19

One of the youngest players on the team at 19 years, Awanyi’s star has risen so fast since he made his debut for KCCA last league season.

Dubbed the new Latigo, the former student of Kibuli SS can play as a centre back as well as in midfield as proved at CHAN finals early this year. He is fearless, reads the game well and is a commander.

Murushid Jjuuko

murushid jjuko simba

Club: Simba (Tanzania)

Age: 23

Jjuuko is a nonsense reliable defender in the making of former defender Timothy Batabaire during his hey days, as hard as a rock, good at police marking. He is good in the air as he is on the ground. However his passing and tackling opponents in forbidden areas can’t go unnoticed. He features for Tanzania’s Simba but before, he played for Vipers and SC Victoria University.

Isaac Isinde

isaac isinde

Club: St. George (Ethiopia)

Age: 25

His experience will matter a lot in determining the destination of the Cranes in Burkina Faso alongside a partner who is just starting to settle in national colours. The St. George defender has been part of the national team since 2010 and despite his size, he has aerial prowess, a good game reader and passes the ball well from defence.

He has previously played for Iganga TC, Victors and Simba SC in Uganda.

Midfielders

Farouk Miya

farouk miya vs botswana afcon q

Club: Standard Liege (Belgium)

Age: 18

With 13 goals in 24 appearances for the Cranes, what else can you ask from the lad? Miya is a hard working midfielder who creates space for himself with clever runs and loves the one-two pass exchanges. He is never afraid to take on anyone and despite not being the most talented; his effectiveness covers for all that. Before moving to Belgium, he featured for Vipers for one and half season scoring over 20 goals in 49 appearances.

Mike Azira

michesl azira colorado rapids

Club: Colorado Rapids (USA)

Age: 28

For all his talent, Azira is yet to earn his third cap for the national team. The US based midfielder was last present for national duty against Senegal in the 2014 World Cup qualifiers but had earned his first cap way back in 2006.

He is calm, composed with a fast thinking brain and can play anywhere on the field; across the back four, in midfield and as half nine. Talent wise, he is arguably the best of the lot.

Tonny Mawejje

tony mawejje vs togo

Club: Knattspyrnufélagið Þróttur.

Age: 28

He is one of the best central midfielders in the region. Alongside Geoffrey Massa and Denis Onyango, the Þróttur midfield gem harbors lots of experience having been part of the team since 2004.

Mawejje has over 60 caps and has scored important goals for Uganda on away turf; the winner in Comoros and the opener in the stalemate against Ghana. His range of passing is a joy to watch and never short on confidence.

Aucho Khalid

khalid aucho vs bot

Club: Gor Mahia (Kenya)

Age: 22

A deep lying midfielder with the ability to initiate attacks. Nicknamed Fernando Redondo, the Gor Mahia man is a joy to watch with his range of long passes but can also tackle hard when need be.

William Luwagga Kizito

william luwagga kizito

Club: Feirense (Portugal)

Age: 22:

Another talented, deadlier and exciting player in the Cranes squad. With Luwagga, the questions to Uganda’s creativity problems are solved.

Short but with a capacity to take on any one of any size and. His left foot is as good as his right and can play through the middle, as a half nine and winger.

Hassan Wasswa Mawanda

hassan wasswa

Club: Al Shorta (Iraq)

Age: 28

Micho once described him as the spine of the team. Wasswa who currently plies trade in Iraq never puts a foot wrong in national colours and his return is timely.

The ex-KCCA, SC Villa and St. George player has a big frame that scares off opponents and a battle hardened star who can play as a centre back or defensive midfielder. With his presence on the pitch, Aristide Bance has an equal.

Moses Oloya

moses oloya cranes

Club: Becamex Binh Duong

Age: 23

He is a dribbling wizard with the skills to go past any defender. Oloya made his Cranes debut in 2011 against Kenya and has since been a mainstay in the team.

He is however sometimes criticized for over dribbling and being ineffective when his team is at the receiving end.

Strikers:

Geoffrey Massa

geoffrey massa

Club: Bloemfontein Celtic (South Africa)

Age: 30

He is the most celebrated experienced marksman in the country at the moment who is most remembered for tearing the Namboole net against Congo Brazzaville. Very dangerous in the box, strong with a hard shot. Massa is Uganda’s leading goal scorer in the AFCON/World Cup qualifiers with 13 goals but the fact that he is yet to net away from home can’t go unnoticed.

Hamis ‘Diego’ Kiiza

hamis kizza cranes training

Club: Simba (Tanzania)

Age: 25

A forward with a work rate of a midfielder, Kiiza is currently the most on form striker amongst the lot averaging a goal per game in the Tanzania Vodacom League.

The Simba SC man is Micho’s preferred forward in away games for his workaholic and alongside Okwi and Mawejje; he is the only player to have ever scored on foreign soil in the qualification campaigns.

If give chance, I have a feeling he can replicate what he does for Simba in national colours. Kiiza made his Cranes debut in 2011 and has scored eleven goals in 26 appearances.

Emmanuel Okwi

emmanuel okwi

Club: Sonderjsyke (Sweden)

Age: 23

A product of the defunct SC Villa youth academy Jogoo Young, Okwi is one of the most clinical finishers in the country, very intelligent, creative, expert in one against one. Besides featuring as a central striker, he thrives well playing out wide give his pace.

He has been on the national team since 2011 scoring 18 goals in over 48 caps but his return in qualification campaigns remains minimal at three. 

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