Uganda will be featuring in their 7th Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) tournament and the second in a row since 2017. The Cranes have never won an AFCON title but were losing finalist in 1978
In the 2019 edition, Uganda is in Group A alongside Egypt, DR Congo and Zimbabwe.
Uganda did not enter into qualification for the first two AFCON tournaments in 1957 and 1959.
They would however, be successful at the first time of asking as they sealed a spot at the 1962 edition in Ethiopia.
At the finals which were played on a knock-out basis, the Cranes lost 1-2 to the United Arab Republic, exiting the competition at the semifinals. John Bunyenyezi scored Uganda’s goal, the very first at AFCON.
Uganda went on to withdraw from the 1963 edition before failing to qualify for AFCON 1965.
They made their return to the finals in 1968, exiting the competition at the group stage. Uganda lost all their three groups A games, losing 1-2 to Ethiopia with Polly Ouma scoring their only goal, humiliated 0-4 by Algeria in the second game and then going down 1-2 to Ivory Coast with Denis Obua finding the back of the net for the Cranes.
For the next two editions in 1970 and 1972, Uganda once again failed to qualify for the AFCON finals.
In Egypt 74, Uganda returned to the finals tournament where they were placed in Group A alongside the host, Zambia and Ivory Coast. In the first game, Stanley Mubiru scored for Uganda but they went on to lose 1-2 to Egypt, then drew 2-2 with Ivory Coast with Mubiru scoring both goals to take his tally to three for the campaign. In the last game, the Cranes lost 0-1 to Zambia, finishing third in the group and in the process exit the competition at the group stage.
The Cranes returned for the 1976 edition, once again exiting at the group stage after losing their entire Group A games.
In their first game, Uganda lost 0-2 to Ethiopia and then went on to lose 1-2 to Egypt in the second game with Denis Obua scoring the lone goal. In the last game, Uganda lost 1-2 to Guinea with Jimmy Muguwa scoring the Cranes’ only goal on the day.
For the third consecutive edition, Uganda reached the finals’ tournament, one which would go down as their best performance in the competition’s history.
Drawn in Group B, the Cranes topped it after two victories and one loss. In the opening game, Uganda defeated Congo 3-1 with Philip Omondi, Eddie Ssemwanga and Godfrey Kisitu scoring. Next up was Tunisia, to whom they lost 1-3, Sam Musenze scoring their only goal. In the last Group G, Uganda defeated Morocco 3-0 to book a spot in the last 4. Godfrey Kisitu, Moses Nsereko and Philip Omondi scored the three Cranes’ goals.
In the semi-final, Uganda took on Nigeria, which they defeated 2-1 with Omondi and Abdul Nassar scoring for the Cranes who would march on to the final against hosts-Ghana.
The final would however end in misery as Uganda lost 0-2 to the Black Stars at the Accra Sports Stadium in Accra.
After the disappointment in 78, Uganda withdrew from qualification for the next two AFCONs in 1980 and 1982.
They then went on to fail in their attempts to qualify for the editions between 1984 and 1988, before withdrawing from the 1990 qualification.
From 1992 to 2015, Uganda always attempted but failed to qualify for the AFCON finals.
Desabre is a 42-year-old French coach and former player who has been manager of Uganda since 28 December 2017.
Desabre was born on 2 August 1976 in Valence, France. Immediately prior to his current assignment, he was the head coach of Egyptian Premier League side Ismaily.
His other past coaching assignments include ESC Rocheville in France, ASEC Mimosas, CS Garoua of Cameroon and ES Tunis in Tunisia.
He has also coached Clube Recreativo Desportivo Libolo in Angola, Dubai Club in the United Arab Emirates, JS Saoura in Algeria and Wydad Athletic Club in Morocco.
In December 2017, prior to the January–February 2018 African Nations Championship (CHAN) competition, he signed a three-year contract with FUFA at a gross monthly salary of US$25,000.
On 17th November 2018, Desabre’s Cranes qualified for the 2019 African Cup of Nations after defeating Cape Verde in Kmapala.
In November 2018, the Uganda national team was nominated with five others for the CAF Men’s national team of the year award 2018.
Onyango is a 34-year-old goalkeeper who plays for South African PSL side Mamelodi Sundowns and serves as captain of Uganda Cranes.
Having begun his career in his native country, Onyango went on to play in the South African PSL with Supersport United, Mpumalanga Black Aces and Mamelodi Sundowns.
With Mamelodi Sundowns, he won the 2016 CAF Champions League and took part in the 2016 FIFA Club World Cup.
He was named the 2016 African-based African Player of the year. He was also ranked as the tenth best goalkeeper in the world in list for 2016 compiled by the International Federation of Football History & Statistics.
He represented Uganda at the 2017 Africa Cup of Nationa, captain the side that was coached by Micho.
Onyango is capped 70 times for Uganda.
Projection: Second Round
Uganda’s fixtures at AFCON 2019
-DR Congo vs Uganda, 22nd June
-Uganda vs Zimbabwe, 26th June
-Uganda vs Egypt, 30th June
Uganda’s 23-man squad for AFCON 2019
Goalkeepers: Denis Onyango (Mamelodi Sundowns, South Africa), Jamal Salim (Al Hilal-Sudan), Robert Odongkara (Adama City, Ethiopia)
Defenders: Nico Wakiro Wadada (Azam, Tanzania), Brian Ronald Ddungu Mukiibi (Ostersunds, Sweden), Murushid Jjuuko (Simba, Tanzania), Bevis Mugabi (Yeovil Town, England), Isaac Muleme (FK Viktoria Zizkov, Czech Republic), Hassan Wasswa Mawanda (Unattached), Joseph Ochaya (TP Mazembe, DR Congo), Timothy Denis Awanyi (KCCA FC, Uganda), Godfrey Walusimbi (Unattached)
Midfielders: Mike Azira (Montreal Impact, Canada), Allan Kateregga (Maritzburg, South Africa), William Kizito Luwagga (Shakhter Karagandy, Kazakhstan), Khalid Aucho (Church Hill Brothers, India), Faruku Miya (HNK Gorica, Croatia), Abdul Lumala (Syrianska, Sweden), Tadeo Lwanga (Vipers SC-Uganda)
Strikers: Patrick Henry Kaddu (KCCA FC, Uganda), Derrick Nsibambi (Smouha, Egypt), Allan Kyambadde (KCCA FC Uganda), Emmanuel Arnold Okwi (Simba, Tanzania)