2008 Ghana African Cup of Nations Qualifiers: Who is Who in the Cranes Squad
The Cranes kick start the journey to Ghana against Lesotho on Saturday 2nd September.
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First published: September 1, 2006
The Uganda Cranes last appeared in the African Cup of Nations finals way back in 1978 when they were held in Accra Ghana, long before most of current crop of players were born.
The Ugandan soccer fraternity has cried all along about the Cranes' failure to impress at continental soccer competitions. But the national governing body FUFA, headed by Lawrence Mulindwa has assured Ugandans that the era of scrambling for other teams to support and shedding tears is over.
Two months back, the Federation hired a Hungarian tactician, Laszlo Csaba to mastermind the ship back to Accra in 2008. Csaba must pull the Cranes through a group that comprises of Niger, Lesotho and perennial contenders Nigeria .
The cranes kick start the journey to Ghana against Lesotho on Saturday 2nd September and the guns in Csaba's artillery are already blazing only waiting for the word go to trigger off.
FUFA has summoned over eight players trading their football from abroad in addition the local based talents to do the job.
Ultimate Media's Kasozi Ramathan, looks at some of the stars to spearhead Uganda's qualification campaign.
Uganda Cranes goalkeeper Posnet Omony (right).
Club : Blomofenteins Celtics ( South Africa )
Age : 25
The towering former SC Villa custodian has all the qualities of a good goalie, including the body build. Superb in one against one situations and long kicks, though questionable in dead balls. He is expected to be in between the posts when the Cranes take on Lesotho .
Club : Super Sport ( South Africa )
Age : 21
Another product of Villa Park, who has just joined the South African top division side from St George of Ethiopia .
He is arguably, the best goalie in the country. A fine shot stopper who mastered when to and when not to come off the line. He is good at organizing his defense.
Hit headlines in 2005 East and Central African Club Championship in Tanzania, when he inspired Villa to victory without conceding any goal. He is a utility player who can strike as well. Scored a couple of goals for SC Villa when he assumed the role. He is however poor in sport kick situation.
Club: Police FC
A relative to the ex- Cranes custodian Living stone Kyobe, probably the best local based goalie. Good at instructing his defense though vulnerable in crosses and under time of pressure.
KCC - SC Villa War II Ends in a Barren Draw
Club URA SC
An attack minded right full back who has been a pillar to URA's maiden league crown.
Commonly known as biiri etambula (the moving number two), because of his overlapping instincts during his hey days at KCC FC.
His performances in the Cranes build-ups have impressed Csaba thus keeping Police Fc's Simon Masaba on the bench. He is however criticised for getting caught in his overlapping transit leaving gaps in the defense.
Nestroy Kizito ( Serbia )
An entertaining talented left full back who normally gets on score sheets. Lazy looking but as hard as an iron. Supurb ball control, dribbling, crossing and passing are some of his secret weapons. His only undoing is over carrying the ball and poor heading.
Club Blomofentain Celtics
Commonly known as 'Minister of Defense' by Villa fans while as 'Timo' by his teammates, Batabaire is a nonsense reliable defender in the making of England's Sol Campbell during his hey days, as hard as a rock, good at police marking. Ghana's skipper Stephen Appiah can confirm this as Batabaire turned him into an ordinary player in the last African Cup of Nations qualifiers at Namboole. He is good in the air as he is on the ground. However his passing and tackling opponents in forbidden areas can't go unnoticed.
Club : Arsenal ( Argentina )
A team skipper who leads by example, probabably the most skillful defender of his generation in the country. His experience will matter a lot in determining the destination of the Cranes in the qualifiers. Over confidence is his only undoing.
Kasule Noah 'Babadi'.
Kasule Noah 'Babadi'
Club: URA SC
A fierce looking Rasta man, a typical battle hardened deep-six mid fielder, a Gattuso of Uganda, are some the words to describe the former KCC FC iron man. His timely tackles and passing are a joy to watch. But like many of the defensive midfielders, Babadi's name can hardly miss in the referee's caution book.
Club : SC Villa
He is one of whiz kid graduates from Villa's football "nursery". Should be the youngest in the Cranes squad but the most talented, deadliest and exciting local based player in the Cranes squad. With Nsumba, it's a matter of time before Uganda can have another Jackson Mayanja.
Very short but with a capacity to take on any one of any size and as deadly as a cobra in the 18 yard box. His left foot is as good as his right.
He can play any where in the mid field and as a half nine. Because of his in- experience, the young star is likely to start from the bench in the game against Lesotho .
Magumba, Tumusiime Cause Unrest at Villa Park
Club: Club less
Nickname: Boba boda
He has just been axed by Villa, but up to now there is unrest at Villa park arising from the club fanatics who vow not to attend any club match before explanation from their bosses over the sacking of the their beloved mid field legend.
He is the shortest in the Cranes camp, but lives up to his Boda boda name baptized by the villa fans, in comparison with the Boda boda motorbikes that can hardly be impeded by traffic jam.
He is superb at initiating one-two exchanges, his pace leaves many a defender with no option but to tackle him in the forbidden area.
He is however sometimes criticized for over dribbling and being ineffective when his team is at the receiving end.
Club: KCC FC
A product of Police FC, one of the most clinical finishers in the country at the moment, very intelligent, creative, expert in one against one. In short, he is a one chance one goal player. His undoing is inability to fall back.
Meet Uganda's Figo: Hassan Mubiru
Club: Express FC
He is the most celebrated experienced marksman in the country who is most remembered for his brace that sunk Algeria at Nakivubo on his Cranes debut in 1999. Very dangerous in the box but his inconsistence, cannot go unmentioned.
New Vision: Amazing
The ST Mary's Kitende powerful student is one of the fast rising stars in the country with an incredible pace that can keep defenders busy throughout the 90 minutes. A replica of former Cranes hit man Mathias Kawesa.
He scored his first goal in the Cranes jersey in a 3-2 loss to Libya mid this month before being showed marching orders in the second half.
Club: Keiser chiefs ( South Africa )
Most of the eyes of the Uganda soccer fraternity are on this boy if Uganda is to re- appear in the African cup finals. Should he do it, he will be emulating his father Denis Obua, the former FUFA boss, who was a key figure in the Cranes last appearance in the 1978 finals held in Ghana .
He is one of the super stars in the South African premier league that competed for the best player's award. Though he lost, but managed to win the MTN South African premier League player of the year award, Keiser chiefs player of the year (Amakhosi award) among others.
He is a complete professional player though he has to check on his tempers.
With all the rich profiles of the above talents, Laszlo Csaba is convinced that the fans should start visiting the Ghanian embassy in Uganda to start applying for Visas.
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First published: September 1, 2006
Ramathan Kasozi is a member of Ultimate Media Consult (U) Ltd. . A graduate Journalist, Kasozi has more than 5 years experience reporting on sports in Uganda for different print and broadcast media houses.