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SC Villa dominate Cranes team in Namboole World Cup qualifier

Head Coach Paul Put

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | With five players, Ugandan Premier League champions SC Villa form the largest contingent of local players in a Cranes squad made up predominantly of international players.

Goalkeeper Braddy Jeans Wokorac, defender Kenneth Semakula and forwards Ronald Ssekiganda, Patrick Jonah Kakande and Umar Lutalo have been called up by the Cranes boss.

Uganda Cranes head coach Paul Put has called up 28 players to begin preparations for the second window of the 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifiers. Uganda Cranes, for the first time in five years, will host their matches in Namboole Stadium.

The team features goalkeepers Ismail Watenga, Nafian Alionzi, Crispus Kusiima and Brady Jeans Wokorach. The defenders called up include Elvis Bwomono, Kenneth Ssemakula, Isaac Muleme, Aziz Kayondo, Nicholas Mwere, Bevis Mugabi (Motherwell), Timothy Awany, Elio Capradossi and Halid Lwaliwa.

The selected midfielders are Khalid Aucho, Bobosi Byaruhanga, Ronald Ssekiganda, Joel Sserunjogi, Ibrahim Kasule and Travis Mutyaba. The forwards include Steven Mukwala, Uche Ikpeazu Mubiru, Denis Omedi, Shaban Muhammad, Fahad Bayo, Rogers Mato, Patrick Kakande, Umar Lutalo and Allan Okello.

The last match played at the stadium was in November 2019, before it was blacklisted by continental football’s governing body for failing to meet standards.

Coach Paul Put is preparing the team for a grand return to Namboole, a moment eagerly awaited by many football fans as a “homecoming” for the Cranes. The team will enter a residential camp on May 30, 2024.

Uganda’s first match will be against Botswana on June 7, followed by a match against Algeria on June 10, 2024. Both matches will start at 7:00 pm East African time and will be played under floodlights.

“I think the players called up are fit and in perfect condition to represent the country,” Belgian tactician Paul Put said briefly after announcing the call-up on Thursday at the FUFA Complex in Mengo.

Currently, Uganda Cranes are in fourth position in Group G with three points, having won one match against Somalia and lost one against Guinea. The Cranes are behind group leaders Algeria, who have six points. Botswana and Guinea, which occupy second and third position respectively, also have three points each. Mozambique and Somalia complete the group.

The 23rd edition of the World Cup will have 48 participating countries instead of the usual 32. This means that both African teams and those from other confederations will get more places for the tournament that will be jointly organized by Canada and the United States. from America and Mexico.

After ensuring an increase in the number of African countries in the World Cup, the Confederation of African Football (CAF) modified the previous qualification procedure during its Executive Committee meeting in Algiers. Now, 54 countries were seeded into six pots before being randomly placed into nine groups, each containing six teams.

The leading team in each of the nine groups will obtain automatic qualification for the World Cup. The four best runners-up will participate in an African playoff, with the winners advancing to the inter-confederation playoffs scheduled for March 2026.

In addition, one team from each of the six FIFA confederations, excluding UEFA, will participate in the FIFA play-off competition, along with one team from the host confederation, Concacaf.

Uganda Crane Team

Goalkeepers
Isima Bid Rashid Watenga (Lamontville Golden Arrows FC, South Africa), Nafian Alionzi (Defence Forces FC, Ethiopia), Crispus Kusiima (Kitara FC, Uganda), Braddy Jeans Wokorach (SC Villa, Uganda)

Defenders
Elvis Bwomono (St. Mirren FC, Scotland), Kenneth Semakula (SC Villa, Uganda), Isaac Muleme (FK Victoria Zizkov, Czech Republic), Bevis Mugabi (Motherwell FC, Scotland), Abdu Aziizi Kayondo (MFK Vyskov, Czech Republic) , Nicholas Mwere (BUL FC, Uganda), Timothy Denis Awany (FC Ashdod, Israel), Capradossi Elio (Calcio Lecco FC, Italy), Halidi Lwaliwa (FK Bregainica Stip, North Macedonia)

Midfielders
Khalid Aucho (Yanga SC, Tanzania), Bobosi Byaruhanga (Austin FC, USA), Ronald Ssekiganda (SC Villa, Uganda), Joel Sserunjogi (KCCA FC, Uganda), Ibrahim Kasule (New York Red Bull II, USA). USA), Travis Mutyaba (Zamalek SC, Egypt)

Forward
Steven Dese Mukwala (Asante Kotoko FC, Ghana), Uchechukwu Mubiru Ikpeazu (Port Vale, England), Denis Omedi (Kitara FC, Uganda), Muhammad Shaban (KCCA FC, Uganda), Fahad Aziz Bayo (MFK Vyskov, Czech Republic), Rogers Kassim Mato (Brera Strumica), Patrick Jonah Kakande (SC Villa, Uganda), Umar Lutalo (SC Villa, Uganda), Allan Okello (Vipers SC, Uganda)

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URN

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