By Brian Bariyo Tumuramye
The 40th edition of the tournament gets underway in Kampala with Djibouti and Somalia playing an early kick off at Namboole, but the big game will be at Lugogo as Uganda Cranes to face Burundi in CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup on the official opening match 2019 today December 7, 2019 at 4:00pm
Uganda Cranes is in Group A of the competition alongside Burundi, Somalia, Eritrea, and Djibouti.
“We have had 26 players in the previous days me and my coaches discussed for more than two hours to have the final list.
“Not because we lack talent but there is so much of it with in the squad and those that missed out were just unfortunate.”
With Jonathan McKinstry naming his 20-man squad on the eve of the match, the Northern Irish expects a tough challenge as Burundi will want to avenge back to back Chan defeats as recent as October.
Kayiwa has been in and out of the national team set-up and after several below-per performances for his club side, it comes as no surprise that he had been dropped.
Kayiwa is joined on the list by goalkeeper Saidi Keni and defenders Samuel Kato, Disan Ggaliwango and Ashraf Mandela.
There has been two surprise inclusion in the team with the youthful Karim Watambala and Joachim Ojera making the cut.
Watambala has been one of the revelations of the season, putting up several man of the match performances in the Uganda Premier League (UPL) for his club side-Vipers SC this season.
“We know that Burundi is going to prove to be tough opponents tomorrow,” said McKinstry. “They are still wounded after the CHAN qualifier loss home and away.
Cranes will look to Vipers’ forward Fahad Bayo, KCCA’s Allan Okello and Wakiso Giants’ Viane Ssekajugo for goals with Nicholas Kasozi and Muzamiru Mutyaba doing the work in midfield.
For Ojera, he has continued to star in a URA FC team that has punched below it’s weight this season, continuing where he left off last campaign.
After naming the squad, McKinstry was quick to stress how difficult it was to name the final 20.
“The decision of selecting the 20 players was difficult, said the North Irishman.
The Cranes will then face Somalia in the second game on Monday before playing against Eritrea and Djibouti on Wednesday and Sunday respectively.
Charles Lukwago (KCCCA FC) and Joel Mutakubwa (Kyetume FC) Paul Willa (Vipers SC), Mustafa Kizza (KCCA FC), John Revita (KCCA FC), Musitafa Mujuzi (Proline FC), Halid Lwaliwa (Vipers SC) (Capt), Paul Mbowa (URA FC) Shafiq Kagimu (URA FC), Karim Watambala (Vipers SC), Nicolas Kasozi (KCCA FC), Bright Anukani (Proline FC), Muzamiru Mutyaba (KCCA FC) Allan Okello (KCCA FC), Viane Sekajugo (Wakiso Giants), Joachiam Ojera (URA FC), Ben Ocen (Police FC), Joel Madondo (Busoga United), Fahad Bayo (Vipers SC), Steven Mukwala (Maroons FC)