By Alex Bossa
A provisional squad of 40 players has been named by head coach Morley Byekwaso to start preparations for the CECAFA senior challenge cup to be hosted by Ethiopia from 3rd – 18th July 2021.
The tournament which will be for the U-23 teams has a provision of three players above that age category and it was under this exception that coach Byekwaso included Watenga Ismail, Charles Lukwago, Yunus Ssentamu, Murushid Juuko and Saidi Kyeyune among which he will choose THE over age players.
A surprise omission was the AFCON U-20 hero Jack Komakech who is viewed by many as the future first choice goalkeeper for Uganda. He was a key pillar in Uganda’s U-20 run in the AFCON Final in Mauritania early this year.
The summoned players will meet on Friday, 18th June 2021 at FUFA house in Mengo where they will be briefed before heading for the residential camp in Kisasi at the Cranes Paradise Hotel. The date for the announcement for the final 23-man squad is yet to be determined.
It should be noted that CECAFA member countries came to a consensus that the senior challenge cup should be played by the U-23 age group. This was discussed shortly before the CAF General Assembly in Morocco early this year. The organizers also agreed on a fee of USD 20,000 to be paid by all member associations to assist the host in preparing for the tournament.
DR Congo will be this year’s guest team as confirmed by the CECAFA Executive director Auko Gacheo. “DR Congo have requested to play and we have allowed them to play as a guest side,” confirmed Gacheo.
DR Congo joins a list of teams that have confirmed their participation in the tournament and they include; Hosts Ethiopia, Uganda, Somali, Eritrea, Djibouti, Sudan, South Sudan, Kenya, Tanzania, Zanzibar, Burundi and Rwanda. The draws will be made after all the teams have paid their USD 20,000 contribution.
15 times record champions Uganda are the defending champions after they hosted and won the tournament in 2019. Last year the tournament was not held due to the Covid 19 Pandemic which affected all of the sports activities in the region.
Goal Keepers: Watenga Ismail (Chippa United FC), Lukwago Charles (KCCA FC), Otim Dennis (Express FC), Keni Saidi (SC Villa), Kibowa Eric (UPDF FC), Matovu Hassan Muyomba (KCCA FC)
Defenders: Kizito Mugweri Gavin (SC Villa), Begisa James Penz (UPDF FC), Walusimbi Enock (Express FC), Kayondo Abdu Aziizi (Vipers SC), Ndahiro Derrick (SC Villa), Kaddu George (Wakiso Giants FC), Juuko Murushid (Express FC), Musa Ramathan (KCCA FC), Ssemakula Kenneth (BUL FC), Magambo Peter (KCCA FC), Mukundane Hillary (Mbarara City FC)
Midfielders: Byaruhanga Bobosi (Vipers SC), Kiggundu Derrick (Soltilo Bright Stars FC), Watambala Abdul Karim (Vipers SC), Kyeyune Saidi (Unattached), Sserwadda Steven (KCCA FC), Ssenyonjo Hassan (Wakiso Giants FC), Anukani Bright (KCCA FC), Mugulusi Isam (Busoga United FC), Kabonge Nicholas (SC Villa), Salim Abdallah (SC Villa)
Forwards: Bogere Ivan (Wakiso Giants FC), Masereka Saddam (SC Villa), Poloto Julius (KCCA FC), Basangwa Richard (Vipers SC), Yiga Nagib (Vipers SC), Kiwanuka Hakim (Proline FC), Ssentamu Yunus (Vipers SC), Kakooza Derrick (Police FC), Ssenyonjo Samuel (KCCA FC), Anaku Sadat (KCCA FC), Ssebufu Frank (Wakiso Giants FC), Kambale Eric Kenzo (Express FC) and Lwanga Charles (KCCA FC).
Technical team: Byekwaso Morley (Head Coach), Massa Simeon (Assistant Coach), Kiggundu Stephen Billy (Goalkeeping Coach), Mutyaba Bashir (Team Manager), Ssewanyana Ivan (Team Doctor), Bwanika Lawrence (Media Officer), Mulondo Samuel (Kit Manager)