Uganda Cranes players revel in reunion at Airtel dinner

Tuesday July 16 2019

Super Captain.   Airtel MD Somasekhar (L),

Super Captain. Airtel MD Somasekhar (L), Cranes Captain Onyango (C) and Airtel’s Kisakye exchanged pleasantries at the podium. PHOTO BY GEORGE KATONGOLE 


Uganda Cranes players, fresh from the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) had an incredible reunion at the Serena Hotel Kampala on Friday.
Team sponsors for the past six years, Airtel Uganda, hosted the welcome event to congratulate the team for making it two appearances since they took over in 2013.
There was some anxiety though as the first player did not arrive until 8:40pm, about one and a half hours late when skipper Denis Onyango sauntered in dressed in a black designer t-shirt and jeans. Soon after he was joined by Hassan wasswa, Faruku Miya, Tadeo Lwanga, Joseph Ochaya, Isaac Muleme, Emmanuel Okwi and Dancing Rasta Allan Kateregga.
Onyango hailed the gesture as a reunion that was long overdue.
“Ever since we returned from Cairo, we have not met as a team. Everyone is busy with his life but I am happy we are here as you brought us together,” Onyango said.
“We cannot take all the praise,” he added. “Because there are people who do the hard work elsewhere.”
He later joked that “we are busness people. We don’t joke,” alluding to the players’ strike for bonuses before the round of 16 game against Senegal which the team lost 1-0 with Onyango saving from the spot.
Airtel Managing Director V.G somasekhar was proud of the company’s association with football in the country. Airtel has since 2011 been sponsoring the Airtel Rising Stars U-17 event as well as the popular Masaza Cup. “We pride in the journey of football and we shall remain part of the team’s success,” he said.
Somasekhar also reminded the group to be proud of their accomplishments. “Be proud of what you guys have accomplished, and be proud of what we’re getting ready to accomplish,” he said. “Because as good as you were in Egypt, there’s potential for us to be a lot qualify for the 2026 World Cup in.”
It will be co-hosted by Canada, Mexico and the United States. Fufa’s Rogers Byamukama re-affirmed Fufa’s ambitions to participate then.