In the aftermath of the naming of Uganda Cranes’ 35-man provisional squad for the African Nations Championships (CHAN) on Tuesday, there has been raised dust over a host of notable faces missing out.
The dominant figures raising eyebrows among the football faithful are KCCA FC star Allan Okello and Vipers SC marksman Yunus Sentamu.
However, Uganda Cranes head coach Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojevich has come out to clarify the duo’s absences, defending his options in the process.
“Regretfully he (Okello) is under contract with his parent club, Paradou,” said the Serbian of Okello.
The decision is in line with Article 38 of the CHAN Regulations that stipulates:
“Only players with permanent contracts registered in a local club affiliated to their national association are eligible to participate in the African Nations Championship.”
Okello later rejoined KCCA from the Algerian outfit on loan at the start of the season and has been excellent at Lugogo, but, Micho feels he has worthy substitutes in his position.
“He has played with our senior team that played the Africa Cup of Nations so he’s unquestionable and has been among the top three performers in the first round in the league.”
“In his absence, we have players who are practically following in his footsteps in Moses Waiswa, Ibrahim Kasule, and Bright Anukani and all these will help fill the creative gap.”
Micho was also keen to clarify that Sentamu’s absence is basically down to the player turning down the summon.
“I have a perfect relationship with him… and the only national team football he has had has been under me,” defensively started the tactician.
“Regretfully, we came face to face, but he put a hand on his heart, and said ‘coach I am not in a position to help the team.”
Sentamu has over the past year had a distant relationship with the national team and FUFA, on several occasions turning down call-ups and FUFA-related events.
Uganda is pitted in Group B along with Ivory Coast, Senegal, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, and will open their campaign against the latter on January 14th at the 19 May Stadium, Annaba.
The 35-man provisional squad
Goalkeepers: Alionzi Nafian (URA FC), Joel Mutakubwa (Modern Gaddafi FC), Jack Komakech (Vipers SC), Mathias Muwanga (Onduparaka FC), Emmanuel Kalyowa (BUL FC)
Defenders: James Begisa (URA FC), Derrick Ndahiro (URA FC), Isa Mubiru (Vipers SC), Ashraf Mandela (Vipers SC), Hilary Mukundane (Vipers SC), Kenneth Semakula (SC Villa), Filbert Obenchan (KCCA FC), Geoffrey Wasswa (KCCA FC), Bright Vuni (Arua Hill SC), Fred Gift (SC Villa), Arthur Kiggundu (Express FC), Grant Matsiko (Wakiso Giants FC)
Midfielders: Siraje Ssentamu (Vipers SC), Karim Watambala (Vipers SC), Marvin Joseph Youngman (Vipers SC), Moses Waiswa (KCCA FC), Saidi Kyeyune (URA FC), Hussein Ssenoga (Express FC)
Wingers: Mohamed Ssenoga Kagawa (KCCA FC), Rogers Mato Kassim (KCCA FC), Moses Aliro (Wakiso Giants FC), Travis Mutyaba (SC Villa), Milton Karisa (Vipers SC), Ibrahim Orit (Vipers SC)
Forwards: Najib Yiga (Vipers SC), Bright Anukani (Vipers SC), Ibrahim Kasule (Wakiso Giants FC), Titus Ssematimba (Wakiso Giants FC), Frank Sebuufu (Wakiso Giants FC), Cromwel Rwothomio (Vipers SC)