LUGOGO – Uganda Cranes Captain Denis Onyango arrived in the country yesterday as the team continues its preparations for the upcoming 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Egypt.
The short stopper who was expected to join the team in Abu Dhabi made a surprise appearance at the team’s evening training session at the StarTimes Stadium in Lugogo, on Thursday.
Upon setting foot at Lugogo, Onyango was quick to thank both the Government and Federation for ensuring preparations run smoothly.
“As Captain of the team, I would like thank the federation for all the preparations especially the training camp in Abu Dhabi where the team is expected to intensify the training regime. Said Onyango.
“I also thank the Government for the financial support given to the team.
Onyango was integral to the Cranes securing qualification to the AFCON finals with a game to spare. In the first five qualification matches, the custodian did not concede a single goal.
Speaking about what lies ahead come the finals’ tournament in Egypt, Onyango was quick to identify the DR Congo game as ‘important’.
“I am optimistic that Uganda Cranes will perform well in Egypt.
“The most important game to me will be the opening match against Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
“We shall go all out for a victory to fancy our chances of progressing from group A.
As Onyango arrives, the team is still undergoing preps at Lugogo while in camp at Kabira Country club.
At the moment, there are 11 players with the rest expected to join in Abu Dhabi.
Training will continue on Friday morning with a gym session at Kabira Country club.
The Cranes will fly out of the country on Sunday and will camp in Abu Dhabi where they are expected to play two build-up games.
From there, they will head for Ivory Coast for another mini-camp before flying to Egypt.
The final team of 23 players to Egypt will be confirmed after the two international friendly matches in Abu Dhabi.
Uganda is in Group A of the 32nd edition of AFCON alongside hosts Egypt, DR Congo and Zimbabwe.
The Provisional Squad to Abu Dhabi
Goalkeepers: Denis Onyango (Mamelodi Sundowns, South Africa), Robert Odongkara (Adama City, Ethiopia), Charles Lukwago (KCCA, Uganda) Jamal Salim (Al Hilal-Sudan).
Defenders: Murushid Jjuuko (Simba, Tanzania), Ronald Mukiibi (Ostersunds, Sweden), Bevis Mugabi (Yeovil Town, England),
Isaac Muleme (FK Viktoria Zizkov, Czech Republic), Nico Wakiro Wadada (Azam FC, Tanzania), Hassan Wasswa Mawanda (Unattached), Joseph Ochaya (TP Mazembe, DR Congo), Timothy Denis Awanyi (KCCA FC,Uganda), Godfrey Walsumbi (Unattached).
Midfielders: William Luwagga Kizito (Shakhter Karagandy, Kazahstan), Khalid Aucho (Church Hill Brothers, India), Faruku Miya (HNK Gorica, Croatia), Michael Azira (Montreal, Canada), Tadeo Lwanga (Vipers SC-Uganda), Kirizestom Ntambi- Coffee FC, Ethiopia), Allan Kateregga (Maritzburg, South Africa), Moses Waiswa Moses (Vipers SC, Uganda), Sadam Juma (KCCA FC-Uganda).
Strikers: Alexis Bbakka (Carlstad United, Sweden), Emmanuel Arnold Okwi (Simba, Tanzania), Abdul Lumala (Syrianska FC, Sweden), Patrick Henry Kaddu (KCCA FC, Uganda), Derrick Nsibambi (Smouha, Egypt), Allan Kyambadde (KCCA FC Uganda