By Ezaruku Draku Franklin
Shaban Mohammad, the FUFA Male Player of the year 2016 has been named in the final 23 man Uganda Cranes Squad for Afcon 2017.
The inclusion caps a stellar year for a player who only a season ago was in the big league, the second tier group in Ugandan football. He continued his form in the big league where he mesmerized opponents with dazzling skills to the Azam Premier league, propelling Onduparaka FC to third on the premier league table.
After the selection, the Onduparaka striker said, “I am very excited to be on the team that will compete at Afcon. I look forward to giving my best. This is a dream come true.”
Shaban is only one of the four locally based players selected to take part in the biggest tournmanent on the African Continent. Others are KCCA trio of Geoffrey Sserunkuma, Joseph Ochaya and Awany. Kenyan-based Shafik Batambuze earned his first call-up to the Cranes set-up.
Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojevic dropped goalkeeper Benjamin Ochan, Muzamir Mutyaba(Both KCCA) and Edrisa Lubega (Proline) who ply their trade in the Uganda Premier League.
The Cranes depart to Dubai where they will hold an eight-day camp and will face Slovakia on January 8 and Cote d’Ivoire on January 11 in friendly matches in Abu Dhabi.
Uganda will open their campaign against Afcon 2015 finalists Ghana on January 17 before facing Egypt four days later at Stade de Port Gentil. They will complete their Group D matches against Mali on January 25 at Stade d’Oyem.
Goalkeepers:Denis Onyango,Robert Odongkara, Salim Omar Magoola
Defenders: Joseph Ochaya, Murushid Juuko, Isaac Isinde, Denis Iguma, NicholasWakiroWadada, Shafik Batambuze, Timothy Dennis Awany
Midfielders: Tonny Mawejje,Khalid Aucho, Godfrey Walusimbi, Michael Azira, Hassan Mawanda Wasswa, Geoffrey Kizito
Forwards: Junior Yunus Sentamu, Geoffrey Sserunkuma, William Luwagga Kizito, Geoffrey Massa, Moses Oloya, Farouk Miya, Muhammad Shaban