Ssekiganda itching to shoulder Cranes midfield burden

Ssekiganda is raring to go. PHOTO/EDDIE CHICCO 

What you need to know:

Having been among those that shone brightest in SC Villa league title winning season, Ssekiganda is expected to form a new-look Cranes midfield trio with teammate Umar Lutalo and  KCCA teen sensation Joel Sserunjogi.
 

Ugandan Cranes fans haven’t had much to shout about the national team in the last four years but the breakthrough of SC Villa midfield enforcer Ronald Ssekiganda has brought about a rare bright spot.

With usual starters Khalid Aucho and Bobosi Byaruhanga only joining camp last night, Ssekiganda is in the running to be Paul Put's designated anchorman when the Uganda Cranes take on Botswana tomorrow and Algeria on Monday at Namboole in the 2026 World Cup qualifiers.

"Since the coach (Put) gave me my debut in the three friendly matches against Kuwait, Comoros and Ghana, he has continued to rotate me in midfield and defence and plus giving me more responsibility in the team," Ssekiganda revealed.

Having been among those that shone brightest in SC Villa league title winning season, Ssekiganda is expected to form a new-look Cranes midfield trio with teammate Umar Lutalo and  KCCA teen sensation Joel Sserunjogi.

"I have worked so hard to get here so don't expect me to shiver before the Namboole home crowd. This is my moment to give all I can and try to get a better opportunity," the former Singo, Bulemezi, Lungujja Galaxy and CATDA box to box midfielder added.

Ssekiganda shelved his electrical engineering degree at Kampala University after the first semester to join SC Villa four seasons ago before powering them to the jinx-breaking title with three goals and six assists.

In fact, Ssekiganda had to prove he is an adaptable player, somebody who can play as a holding linchpin or in a box-to-box role, or even further forward as a ten, when at the start of the season he was benched for four games before he took over from Diego Ssemugera and Elvis Ngonde. 

After the turbulent days of coaches Edward Kaziba, Petros Koukouras and Jackson Magera, the lad got his groove under Serbian Dusan Stojanovic who empowered him as the Jogoos' midfield fulcrum and must-have jewel.

In the same breath at Cranes, Ssekiganda instantly brought an air of serenity to the side whenever he has possession. He is composed in tight areas, his temperament and technical ability make him one of Put's most press-resistant players.

Against Botswana, Ssekiganda might be tasked to carry the ball on smoothly forward to playmakers Travis Mutyaba and Allan Okello whereas against the attack minded Algerians that leade Group G, he will be asked to offer sound defensive attributes. 

Rosa ready 

Botswana French coach Didier Da Rosa sounded unfazed when told about the Uganda Cranes' near invincibility at namboole warning they have a strategic plan to walk away victorious.

"We have a plan to follow and although the training ground (Luzira Prisons Ground) is not good, we have a positive spirit and are very satisfied (with the preparations)," he said.

He said they have watched six Cranes matches and know much about the team's Belgian coach experience.

"It (Cranes) is a good team that is ranked 92nd and has played a lot of Afcon games but we are here to play with ambition and win.

"We have improved a lot esp[ecially in defence and although we expect Cranes to be physical, we have the weapons to walk home with maximum points," Rosa stressed.