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Preview: Uganda Cranes ready for Burundi opener at 2019 Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup

CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup 2019

7th -19th December

Kampala – Uganda

7th December:

Somalia Vs Djibouti – 2 PM 

Uganda Vs Burundi – 4 PM

Uganda Cranes open up the CECAFA 2019 Senior Challenge Cup with a game against Burundi in group A at the Star Times Stadium, Lugogo on Saturday, 7th December.

For starters, Group A also has three other countries; Somalia, Eritrea and Djibouti.

After weeks of intensive training, the head coach Johnathan McKinstry named the final team of 20 players on Friday who will be used for the entire championship.

The technical personnel talk to the players in talk session after training on Friday afternoon at Lugogo

McKinstry warned the players against underrating the opponents and promised for the best showing in the tournament.

‘We are focused and determined to give our best performance. All the players are ready physically and mentally. Against Burundi, it is not the same game like we recently played against them in the CHAN 2020 qualifiers. This is a different game‘ McKinstry stated.

Allan Okello takes on Burundi during the CHAN 2020 qualifiers at Lugogo in Kampala

Head to Head against Burundi:

In the last five CECAFA meetings, Uganda Cranes has managed to win 3 games, a draw and 1 loss since 2011.

When both teams met in the previous CECAFA in 2017 in Kenya Uganda Cranes won 2-1 in a group match. In the same competition both teams shared spoil in a goalless draw during the knockout stage.

The only win for Burundi against Uganda in CECAFA was the 1-0 victory that happened way back in December 2011 in Dar es Salaam Tanzania.

However, Uganda Cranes and Burundi played each other in the CHAN 2020 Qualifiers were Burundi lost both legs on a 3-0 final score.

The team was in charge of Abudallah Mubiru as an interim coach.

Despite losing to the Uganda Cranes while working with Amavubi Stars of Rwanda in 2015 CECAFA final match, this is McKinstry’s first CECAFA Tournament with Uganda Cranes having joined Uganda Cranes at the end of October this year.

Nevertheless, the Irish born coach is looking forward to maintain his record of not conceding a goal yet since joining Cranes.

He has played 3 international matches (Ethiopia, Burkina Faso and Malawi) plus 2 regional tour games that have seen his side leaving the pitch without feeling the pain of conceding.

Other games:

The Cranes will face Somalia in the second game on Monday 9th December before playing against Eritrea and Djibouti on Wednesday 11th and Sunday 15th December respectively.

Uganda Cranes players in a warm down session at Lugogo on the eve of the 2019 CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup tournament

Final Squad:

Goalkeepers: Charles Lukwago (KCCCA FC) and Joel Mutakubwa (Kyetume FC)

Defenders: Paul Willa (Vipers SC), Mustafa Kizza (KCCA FC), John Revita (KCCA FC), Musitafa Mujuzi (Proline FC), Halid Lwaliwa (Vipers SC, Captain), Paul Mbowa (URA FC)

Midfielders: Shafiq Kagimu (URA FC), Karim Watambala (Vipers SC), Nicolas Kasozi (KCCA FC), Bright Anukani (Proline FC), Muzamiru Mutyaba (KCCA FC)

Forwards: Allan Okello (KCCA FC), Viane Sekajugo (Wakiso Giants), Joackim Ojera (URA FC), Ben Ocen (Police FC), Joel Madondo (Busoga United), Fahad Bayo (Vipers SC), Steven Mukwala (Maroons FC)