Saturday January 11 2014

Who is who in Cranes’ Chan squad?

Wasswa (L) leads Cranes players in celebration after

Wasswa (L) leads Cranes players in celebration after they beat Tanzania at Namboole to secure their ticket to the Chan tournament. 

Benjamin Ochan: The SC Victoria University custodian is relatively inexperienced with the national. But he was captain of the all-conquering Friends Of Football (FOF) and Kampala Kids League (KKL) U-13 side in 2002 and 2003 that won the Gothia and Tivoli cups. He also featured for South African club Bloemfontein Celtic in 2009 and was part of KCC’s team that played in the Caf Champions League the season before. He is a good shot stopper and good distributor of the ball which is an added advantage for a goalkeeper.

Ismail Watenga: The SC Vipers goalkeeper excelled in schools tournaments between
2009 and 2011 for St Mary’s Kitende. He came into the limelight however after dislodging Hamza Muwonge from the number one spot at
2009 champions Vipers. He is good in the air and in one-on-one situations.

Ali Kimera: He is one of the eight Victoria University players on the Chan team. A good shot stopper and decent in one-on-one situations as well. He spent three seasons at Victors before crossing to the university side where he excelled as they won the Uganda Cup last season. He has since lost his place to Ochan and was a late inclusion to the squad.

Ronnie Kisekka: Currently at KCC, he came to the fore in 2009 when Proline merged with Nalubaale and spent five years at the club. He is fast and tenacious in the tackle and has a good leap despite his apparent lack of height.He can also play across the back four.

Martin Mpuuga: The 6’3 defender has greatly improved from his days at regional side Life Eternal FC. He moved to Maroons where he quickly established himself at the heart of their defence in the 2010/2011 season .he later joined SC Victoria University. His size is always an asset for a defender. Prefers the take no prisoners approach and has the knack of popping up with a goal every once in a while. His pace like for all big men is suspect though.

Richard Kasaga: He has an imposing frame that always makes life uncomfortable for defenders and is good both on the ground and in the air. He is also quite fast for a player of his size and also reads the game well. He possesses a goalscoring threat especially from set pieces and has shown tremendous improvement at current club Kira Young .

Isaac Muleme: A product of the Jogoo Young academy, Muleme spent many years as an understudy of Godfrey Walusimbi at SC Villa but has since emerged out of his shadow. He is comfortable on the ball and can play both at left back and on the left wing. He is also a decent crosser of the ball and has become a key player for his side SC Victoria University but his lack of height can be exploited by bigger opposition.

Savio Kabugo: He is another defender from Victoria University having come into the limelight during his days at Proline. He has good game reading skills and enjoys passing the ball out of defense. He is also a goal scoring threat as evidenced in Crane’s friendly game against Mauritania last week. His style of play seems to compliment that of Kassaga when the two are paired together in the center of defense.

Nicholas Wadada: The Vipers right back offers good balance defensively and offensively. He forced coach Micho Sredojevic to change his 23-man final squad after making a late recovery from an injury sustained while travelling on a boda boda a few weeks back. His fitness though remains a cause of concern.

Julius Ntambi: The Kira Young defender is an old fashioned right back who will give you good defensive cover especially if the coach goes for a defensive line-up.

Denis Guma: He will captain the side for this tournament. He is another player who came through the ranks at FOF and KKL before joining SC Villa and is currently at Victoria University. He is one of the most talented players on the team and has comfortably been playing across the back four and in midfield at all levels. He is likely to feature in midfield where he excelled in the two games against Tanzania in the qualifiers for this tournament.

Hassan Wasswa: His inclusion raised a few eye brows as he has been largely inactive over the last three months after attempting to force a move from KCC. Despite being a late inclusion to the squad, his physical presence in the center of the pack as well as his experience and leadership qualities are qualities Micho fronted for summoning him. He has previously played in Ethiopia, South Africa and Turkey.

Saidi Kyeyune: The URA midfielder is confortable playing wide and through the middle and will be one of the players tasked with creating goal scoring chances for his team. His performances for the national team though have been inconsistent lately and the final ball that he was known for early in his career while with Maroons will be more than welcome.

Vincent Kayizzi: He is the most experienced player on the team having made his debut a decade ago and spent four years in Serbia with FK Srem and FK Novi Pazar between 2008 and 2011. He possesses the ability to create chances for his teammates while playing on either flank and is a good dribbler. He currently plies his trade at Vipers where the inconsistency has continued.

Yasser Mugerwa: He is another gifted player who features for Uganda Cup winners Victoria University. While his final ball to create a goal scoring chance for a teammate is rarely in question his ability to impose himself on games as well as helping the team when they lose possession remains a cause for concern.

Brian Majwega: The KCC winger has the ability to dazzle and frustrate in equal measure.
Ivan Ntege: He might lack the physical presence of Hasssan Wasswa but the coach will find it difficult to leave him out of the team. He has been impressive for his club this season and was arguably the best player in the game against Mauritania as he thwarted the opposition’s raids several times. The KCC midfielder has a good passing range and also offers plenty of industry.
Joseph Mpande: The Vipers attacking midfielder has flattered to deceive in recent national team games and had a poor Cecafa tournament. He still retains the ability though to provide a moment of magic for the team and his coach Micho will certainly expect a spark from the lanky Vipers player who can play in various positions upfront.


Crespo Asiku: He is unproven at this level but brings the natural strikers’ traits. His movement in the box is so quick and he is decent in the air as well. Unlike the other three strikers, he did not get a chance to feature in the game against Mauritania but has been Bul Bidco’s talisman for the last two seasons. He has five goals to his name this season.

Francis Olaki: He is the younger brother to senior Cranes forward Emmanuel Okwi. Apart from being shorter than Okwi, he possesses all the attributes of his elder brother. He is fast, direct and a decent finisher with the ability to beat a defender. Injury halted his impressive run in the domestic league but he still managed eight goals in twelve games. He marked his Cranes debut with a goal against Mauritania.

Simon Okwi: The former KCC forward seems to have found his feet at SC Victoria University scoring six times in the first round. He is good in the air and has good positional sense although he contributes little when outside the box.

Yunus Sentamu: The Vipers forward was certain to be included in the recent Cecafa tourney only to be ruled out as he was completing his form six examinations. The young forward seems to have impressed Micho having started the game against Mauritania. His finishing ability, movement on and off the ball as well as he general all round play are impressive although it remains to be seen if he can replicate the same performances against more experienced opposition.