Blending into a new environment is always tricky as one is not sure about what to expect but for forward, Abdu Lumala, a Ugandan playing his professional football in Sweden, it has been a bed of roses as he eyes his national team debut.
Lumala was summoned to take part in Uganda Cranes preparations for the upcoming 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON), the very first time he was called up to the National team.
At the start of the week, he teamed up with the others currently camped in Abu Dhabi, and is already feeling at home.
“First of all, i got lucky to be called onto the national team which had never happened before, said the 21 year old.
“I teamed up with very good players who include the best goal keeper in Africa, Denis Onyango.
“I am happy about my teammates because everyone welcomed me so well. I knew a few players and i am happy all of them are good people.
Lumala who was born in Kataba, moved to Sweden at the age of 16 and has been living there ever since.
His time in Sweden has not been easy as he has featured for as many as six clubs in just five years.
He started out at Mjalby AIF before we was transferred to Kalmer after one year.
Kalmer has never been a home for Lumala as he has been loaned out to four different clubs including Syrianska FC, for whom he currently features.
His experience in Sweden may be tough as he keeps on moving from one club to another but at the moment, he is enjoying his stay with the Cranes.
“We are currently doing good training at a good facility under a very good coach, noted Lumala.
“There is something special among us. Everyone is trying to do their best and also push and help the others.
“The bonding is excellent which i think, it will help us get better and better each passing day.
“I have not been here for a long time but i am not finding it difficult to blend in.
Lumala and co will take part in two friendly games against Turkmenistan on Sunday, 9th June and Ivory Coast, six days later.
The first game will be used as assessment for the players, after which head coach Sebastein Desabre will name his final 23 man squad for the AFCON finals tournament in Egypt.
“Am looking forward to our last preparation game against Ivory Coast because it is the one that will give us a clear picture of what we have been doing in training, Lumala further noted about the preparations.
“We are going into AFCON believing we will perform well because we have stars in our team who will most definitely put out a magnificent display.
The Cranes have been camped in Abu Dhabi for over a week now as they gear up for the 32nd edition of African football showpiece.
Currently, there are 26 players in camp with Mike Azira and Charles Lukwago, the two yet to arrive.
At AFCON 2019, Uganda is in Group A alongside hosts Egypt, DR Congo and Zimbabwe.
The 22 players currently camped in Abu Dhabi
Denis Onyango, Hassan Wasswa Mawanda, Joseph Ochaya, Timothy Awanyi, Godfrey Walusimbi, Patrick Kaddu, Bevis Mugabi, Isaac Muleme, Khalid Aucho, Tadeo Lwanga, Allan Kyambadde, Saddam Juma, Moses Waiswa and Murushid Jjuuko, Derrick Nsibambi, Kirizestom Ntambi, Farouk Miya, Kizito Luwaga, Salim Jamal, Alexis Bbakka, Abdu Lumala, Allan kateregga, Nicholas Wadada, Emmanuel Okwi, Ronald Mukiibi, Robert Odongokara.
Officials in Abu Dhabi
Leader of Delegation – Issa Magola
Head Coach – Sebastien Desabre
Assistant Coach – Matia Lule
Goalkeeping Coach – Fred Kajoba
Team Doctor – Ronald Kisolo
Physiotherapist – Ivan Ssewanyana
Media Officer – Ahmed Hussein
Physical Fitness Trainer – Jerome D’Antonio
Kits Managers – Lawrence Kizito and Ayub Balyejusa