Goalkeepers Dennis Onyango and Benjamin Ochan were the surprise omissions as coach Micho Sredojevic named his final 18-man squad for Cranes opening 2015 Afcon qualifier against Madagascar on Sunday.
Onyango was left behind after Micho revealed that flight connections could not enable the Bidvest Wits shot stopper from connecting from South Africa to Madagascar after his side’s Saturday game. “You cannot rule out the player being delayed by inland transport even if he makes it to Madagascar,” Micho said of Onyango.
Victoria University’s Ochan who kept goal for the Cranes at the Chan Championship in January was also dropped in favour of the less experienced Viper’s goaltender Ismail Watenga.
“Even after 20 years of coaching, dropping players remains a very difficult task,” explained Micho.
The team was expected to travel in the wee hours of Friday morning (2am) to Nairobi where captain Andy Mwesigwa will join up with the rest of the squad before connecting to Madagascar.
Elsewhere, local football body Fufa together with the Cranes official beer partner Nile Special yesterday launched a campaign codenamed ‘Cranes na Mutima.’
The campaign will enable upcountry fans get a chance to watch the Cranes players in action in their respective regions as well as canvassing for support as the team embarks on the 2015 Afcon campaign. “We have made a conscious decision to stick with the national team no matter what heartache it suffers,” revealed Isaac Sekasi the Nile Special sponsorships manager at the launch yesterday.
Cranes CEO Edgar Watson added that the team will play various select regional sides and are expected to start with the west (Mbarara) before moving to east (Mbale) and north (Gulu) as part of the campaign.
Goalkeepers: Hamza Muwonge, Ismail Watenga
Defenders: Isaac Isinde, Denis Guma, Andy Mwesigwa, Henry Kalungi, Savio Kabugo, Joseph Ochaya.
Midfielders: Khalid Aucho, Geoffrey ‘Baba’ Kizito, Brian Majwega, Luwagga Kizito, Martin Mutumba, Hassan Wasswa
Strikers: Francis Olaki, Emma Okwi, Hamis ‘Diego’ Kiiza, Dan ‘Mzee’ Serunkuma
Coach: Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojevich Assistants: Fred Kajoba and Kefa Kisala