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ISMAIL WATENGA: We are like brothers in camp , our eyes are on the ball

Uganda Cranes goalkeeper Ismail Watenga is on a mission in Rwanda ahead of his team’s opening match against Mali on Tuesday in the 2016 African Nations Championship (CHAN) finals.

Watenga who plays for reigning Azam Uganda Premier League champions Vipers SC is one of the three keepers in camp. Mathias Kigonya and Alitho James are the other keepers in Rubavu where the Uganda Cranes is camped.

Having missed the two CHAN qualifier rounds against Tanzania and Sudan through injury, the former St Mary’s SS Kitende player says that he is happy with the players and officials in camp he refers to as his true brothers.

‘I am happy to be selected from over 37 million people in Uganda to represent my country. Our country has very many good goalkeepers but for now we need create competition among the three in camp’ said Watenga.

Watenga was part of the Uganda Cranes squad in the 2014 CHAN Finals in South Africa and never played any game but he believes he gained a lot of experience from Benjamin Ochan and Ali Kimera who were the other keepers in camp.

‘The training i had in 2014 with Ochan and Kimera helped me learn a lot from them. My coach at the National team Fred Kajoba has guided me a lot’ said Watenga.

Watenga on a mission in Rwanda

‘We are like brothers in the camp. Nothing will keep our eyes off the ball. The public needs to believe in us. We are doing well in camp and looking forward to the games’ added Watenga. He believes that confidence is high in camp.

‘We have received our allowances even before we kick a ball. All we need is support from the fans back home during this tournament’ said Watenga who talked to as he listened to Sheeba’s popular hit ‘Siri Zari’.

On the rumours that players were on strike in camp, Watenga was quick to respond that ‘We know why we are here. We thank FUFA for giving us an opportunity to get this far because such platforms open up opportunities for players. The federation has never failed to fulfill its promises. We are here for the tournament and the rest happens after our work on the pitch and we are not worried at all’ added Watenga.

Uganda Cranes will hold a press conference today at Umuganda stadium at 5.30pm before conducting   their final training session at 6.45pm at the stadium.



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