Uganda Cranes kick started their preparations for upcoming World Cup Qualifiers with the first training session on Monday.
New Cranes coach Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredejovich was in charge of the team of mostly local based players at Kabira Country Club.
Uganda is in Group E of the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers alongside Kenya, Rwanda and Mali.
The Cranes starts away to Kenya on September 1 before facing Mali at home on September 5, 2021.
Here is what we noticed:
Kabira Not Conducive
The team held their first session at Kabira Country Club. Besides the small size of the pitch, the playing surface was poor and hindered movement of the ball. There were some bystanders who pipped through the walls while some Kabira stafff spared some time came through to enjoy the training. The pitch is located just on the main road (Kira road) and the sound from vehicles and nearby music did not provide the relaxed atmosphere.
Low Fitness Levels
Most Players looked heavy and unfit and hence struggled through the tense training session. That is understandable given the fact that football and sport in general was halted due to Covid19. Fitness and Performance director Franck Plaine took the boys through their paces at the start while Fred Kajoba handled the goalkeepers.
Same Old Micho
The session was conducted at Kabira, the same place Micho announced his resignation on July 29, 2017. This time round on Monday, he looked to enjoy himself as he started his new term back in the country. He was very vocal, made some jokes to players and made sure his instructions are well delivered through repeated statements and a couple of start-stops. And called most players by names.
There was no Vipers striker Yunus Ssentamu, Pyramids winger Lumala Abdu and Captain Emmanuel Okwi from the team team of 30 that was summoned.
Notably, Express and KCCA FC players were not part of the session after their CECAFA Kagame Cup duties. Moses Basena who was recently appointed to replace Livingston Mbabazi as the assistant coach, and Video Analyst Addis Worku were also absent.
Players Who Trained
*Goalkeepers – Charles Lukwago (KCCA FC), Simon Tamale (Soltilo Bright Stars FC), Nafian Alionzi (URA FC)
*Defenders – Innocent Wafula (Mbarara City FC), Paul Willa (Vipers SC), Eric Ssenjobe (Police FC), Azizi Kayondo (Vipers SC), Halid Lwaliwa (Vipers SC), Garvin Kizito Mugweri (SC Villa), Kenneth Ssemakula (SC Villa), Hassan Muhamood (Police FC)
*Midfielders – Nicholas Kasozi (Kyetume FC), Bobosi Byaruhanga (Vipers SC), Shafik Kuchi Kagimu (URA FC), Ibrahim Orit (Vipers SC), Milton Karisa (Vipers SC)
*Forwards – Richard Basangwa (Vipers SC), Steven Dese Mukwala (URA FC), Patrick Henry Kaddu (RS Berkene), Jude Ssemugabi (Mbarara City FC)