By David Kalyango
Uganda Cranes head Coach Johnathan McKinstry buried all the frustrations he had undergone less than a month after ascending to the nation team job, to name a 25-man squad ahead of the 2021 Afcon qualification fixture, away against Burkina Faso and at home with Malawi.
The Cranes open the 2021 Afcon qualifier campaign on November 13 in Ouagadougou, before engaging Malawi – three days later at the Mandela National Stadium, Namboole in these group B encounters.
Local Soccer governing body – Fufa hatched a strategy that would have the national team travel to Burkina Faso aboard a chartered Uganda Airlines plane – so as to acquire ample time for the game against the Malawi Flames. Fufa has also reserved 30 seats on the plane for fans willing to travel for the match in Ouagadougou at $1500 per ticket to cater for various over head costs.
McKinstry on Wednesday named a team of mainly foreign based players on the provisional list that would face Burkina Faso and Malawi, reportedly amidst administrative challenges arising from Fufa’s insisting on imposing some of the assistants onto his backroom staff. The summoned squad has only five local based players; three of whom are from KCCA FC.
“Fufa wanted a win-win situation – naming a technical team that would play a wider role than what the coach had in mind,” said a source that preferred anonymity.
Fufa Ag. president Justus Mugisha, not McKinstry; confirmed the backroom staff for the coach where Abdallah Mubiru and Livingstone Mbabazi were named as first and second assistants, respectively on a six-month verbal contract.
Fred Kajoba was returned onto the team as the goalkeeping coach in a reportedly an ‘engineered blackmail process, while Ayub Balyejusa – a ‘do or die –Moses Magogo project was name the Equipment Manager as Geoffrey Massa scooped the post of Team Coordinator. Patrick Ntege maintained the vacancy of National Teams Manager.
Uganda Cranes Team;
Goalkeepers: Dennis Onyango (Mamelodi Sundowns, South Africa), Robert Odongkara (Horoya AC, Guinea) and Charles Lukwago (KCCA, Uganda)
Defenders: Ronald Mukiibi (Ostersunds FK, Sweden), Nico Wakiro Wadada (Azam, Tanzania), Bevis Mugabi (Motherwell, Scotland), Murushid Jjuuko (Wydad Casablanca, Morocco), Timothy Awany (Sport Club Ironi Ashdod, Israel), Hassan Wasswa Mawanda (Jeddah, Saudi Arabia), Halid Lwaliwa (Vipers, Uganda), Isaac Muleme (Viktoria Zizkov, Czech Republic) and Joseph Ochaya (TP Mazembe, Democratic Republic of Congo)
Midfielders: Michael Azira (Chicago Fire, USA), Khalid Aucho (Misr Lel Makasa, Egypt), Tadeo Lwanga (Tanta, Egypt), Nicholas Kasozi (KCCA, Uganda), Allan Okello (KCCA, Uganda), Allan Kyambadde (El Gouna, Egypt)
Strikers: Emmanuel Arnold Okwi (Ittihad Alexandria, Egypt), Patrick Henry Kaddu (RS Berkane, Morocco), Alexis Bbakka (Carlstad United BK, Sweden), Fahad Bayo (Vipers, Uganda), Farouk Miya (Konyaspor, Turkey), Abdu Lumala (Pyramids, Egypt) and William Kizito Luwagga (Shakhter Karagandy, Kazahstan)
Head Coach: Jonathan McKinstry
Assistant Coach: Abdallah Mubiru
Assistant Coach: Livingstone Mbabazi
Fitness Coach: Alexander McCarthy
Goalkeeping Coach: Fred Kajoba
Equipment Manager: Ayub Balyejusa
Coordinator: Geoffrey Massa