Okwi, Miya return as Micho summons 35 for Afcon 2023 qualifiers

After missing out on the qualification for Cameroon 2021, the Uganda Cranes who had made two consecutive appearances (2017& 2019) at the greatest continental football showpiece, embarked on an early preparation campaign.

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Emmanuel Okwi (Jersey 7) returns to the Uganda Cranes squad since 2021 when Uganda played against Kenya. PHOTO/FILE.

Uganda Cranes head coach Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojevic has summoned 35 players ahead of the upcoming FIFA International window in March 2022 as the preparations for the Total AFCON 2023 qualifiers start.

The sqaud consists of twenty(20) players plying their in the StarTimes Uganda Premier League while fifteen (15) play outside Uganda.

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Among these are 5 goalkeepers, 9 defenders, 6 central midfielders, 7 offensive midfielders and 8 forwards.

Faruku Miya, team captain Emmanuel Okwi, and Allan Kyambadde have returned to the team following a long absence.

Others in the squad, are Marvin Youngman (Soltilo Bright Stars FC) and reigning Airtel FUFA footballer of the year Bobosi Byaruhanga.

Micho has also given chance to young lads who include goalkeeper Jack Komakech, Steven Sserwadda, Najib Yiga, Derrick Kakooza, Sadat Happy Anaku and Alfred Leku.

The Serbian will work with the summoned players for the upcoming four nation mini-tournament (Navruz Cup 2022) in Uzbekistan that will be held between 25th to 29th March in Markaziy Stadium, Namangan city.

Uganda Cranes will play alongside Tajikistan, hosts Uzbekistan and the Kyrgz Republic.

After missing out on the qualification for Cameroon 2021, the Uganda Cranes who had made two consecutive appearances (2017& 2019) at the greatest continental football showpiece, embarked on an early preparation campaign.

“We immediately went for early preparations to ensure qualification for AFCON 2023 in Ivory Coast with an international friendly match in South Africa, CECAFA senior challenge cup in Ethiopia (U-23), international build up in Ethiopia, six FIFA World Cup qualification matches and recently a UEFA-Asia tour,” Micho said.

The Cranes will not engage in the qualifiers until June 2022 but the coach believes the mini-tournament in Uzbekistan will help him to conduct the main general check-up on his team.
” We have been in transition where several players have retired including captain Dennis Onyango, Hassan Wasswa, Mike Azira, Juuko and others. We have an important duty to make ourselves ready,” Micho noted.

Fufa said the full training programme will be released soon where two internal regional tours have been planned to help assess the returning players and the local legion.

“We shall test the players with internal regional build up and tune the competitive mode since friendly matches are all about trying, testing and experimenting before naming the final 23 players who will travel to Uzbekistan,” Micho added.

The mini-tournament in Uzbekistan will run between March 25 and 29, 2022 at the Markaziy stadium in Namangan.

Provisional Squad:

Goalkeepers: Charles Lukwago (St George FC, Ethiopia), Alionzi Nafian (URA FC, Uganda), Isma Watenga (Chippa United FC, South Africa), Benjamin Ochan (KCCA FC, Uganda), Jack Komakech (Vipers SC, Uganda)

Defenders: James Begisa (UPDF FC, Uganda), Hassan Jurua (KCCA FC, Uganda), Isaac Muleme (Viktoria Zizkov, Czech Republic), Herbert Achai (KCCA FC, Uganda), Bevis Mugabi (Motherwell FC, Scotland), Timothy Denis Awanyi (Ashdod, Israel), Halid Lwaliwa (Vipers SC, Uganda), Livingstone Mulondo (Vipers SC, Uganda), Fesali Najib (URA FC, Uganda)

Central Midfielders: Khalid Aucho (Yanga, Tanzania), Bobosi Byaruhanga (Vipers, Uganda), Steven Sserwadda (Red Bull New York, USA), George Kasonko (BUL, Uganda), Marvin Youngman (Soltilo Bright Stars, Uganda), Moses Waiswa (Supersport United, South Africa)

Attacking Midfielders: Allan Okello (Paradou, Algeria), Martin Kizza (Express FC, Uganda), Najib Yiga (Vipers SC, Uganda), Allan Kyambadde (El Gouna, Egypt), Faruku Miya (Lviv, Ukraine), Milton Karisa (Vipers SC, Uganda), Rogers Mato (KCCA FC, Uganda)

Forwards: Emmanuel Arnold Okwi (Kiyovu FC, Rwanda), Patrick Henry Kaddu (KCCA FC, Uganda), Mohamed Shaban (Onduparaka FC, Uganda), Fahad Bayo (Bnei Sakhin, Israel), Derrick Kakooza (Walmiera, Latvia), Alfred Leku (Arua Hill SC, Uganda), Yunus Junior Sentamu (Vipers SC, Uganda), Sadat Happy Anaku (KCCA FC, Uganda)

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