East Africa guest nation Uganda have named their final squad for the 2019 COSAFA Cup, selecting a home-based group as they prepare for the next round of African Nations Championship qualifiers.
The Cranes will clash with South Sudan in late July and early August, and coach Abdallah Mubiru will use the opportunity for top level competition to hone his players for that challenge.
The squad includes Uganda Premier League top scorer Juma Balinya, as well as five other players who were training with the squad that is headed for the Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt next month.
They are goalkeepers Charles Lukwago and James Alitho, defender Mustafa Mujuzi, midfielder Allan Okello and striker Daniel Serunkuma. There are other young rising stars of Ugandan football, such as dribbling wizard Bright Anukani and forward Bashir Mutanda.The Cranes will take on Lesotho in their COSAFA Cup quarter-final on June 1, when they will hope to advance to the knockout stages. A defeat will see them drop into the Plate competition and be guaranteed at least one more encounter.
Uganda have long been a power in the East African region and over recent years have seen their fortunes change for the better on the continental stage as well. The Cranes had to wait 39 years between participations at the Africa Cup of Nations finals before their qualification in 2017, and have now made it back-to-back appearances as they go to Egypt as well this year.
Uganda have participated at COSAFA events in the past, most recently at the COSAFA Women’s Championship in South Africa last year, but also at Under-20 level in the men’s competition.
Uganda final squad:
Goalkeepers: Charles Lukwago (KCCA FC), James Alitho (URA FC)
Defenders: Paul Willa (Police FC), Mustafa Kizza (KCCA FC), John Revita (Express FC), Isaac Isinde (Kirinya Jinja), Paul Mbowa (URA FC), Hassan Musana (KCCA FC), Mustafa Mujuzi (Proline FC)
Midfielders: Nicholas Kasozi (KCCA FC), Shafik Kagimu (URA FC), Muzamir Mutyaba (KCCA FC), Allan Okello (KCCA FC), Allan Kayiwa (Tooro Utd), Juma Balinya (Police FC), Paul Mucuurezi (Mbarara City)
Strikers: Nelson Senkatuka (Brights Stars FC), Bright Anukani (Proline FC), Bashir Mutanda (SC Villa), Dan Serenkuma (Vipers SC)