The Northern Irish coach reveals why he included the injured custodian in the provisional squad for the competition
Uganda coach Jonathan McKinstry has explained why he named injured Kampala City Council Authoity (KCCA FC) custodian Charles Lukwago in the squad for the African Nations Championship (Chan) finals.
Lukwago, who injured his shoulder as KCCA battled to a 1-1 draw against Express FC in a Uganda Premier League match, was the surprise inclusion in the 34-man squad picked to start preparations ahead of the competition to be staged in Cameroon.
KCCA had already ruled the keeper out of action for the next two months but coach McKinstry says he spoke to the club before including his name the provisional squad.
“You have got to remember we have five weeks to prepare and all those players are training. We speak to their clubs and get confirmation that they will all be fully fit within one week,” McKinstry is quoted by Daily Monitor.
Other players who made a surprise return to the squad are newly signed Vipers SC forward Milton Karisa and another ‘forgotten’ player, Julius Poloto of KCCA, who has been ravaged by injuries for over seven months.
“Milton [Karisa] did well in Morocco but for none footballing reasons he returned. I have been following him for a while and encouraged him to sign for a club in UPL,” McKinstry continued.
“He has only played few games but he has talent, speed and is a better player now. He has got the character that I love.”
McKinstry defied prediction, dropping fans favourite David Bagoole, who had scooped three consecutive man-of-the-match accolades with Busoga United, and the KCCA duo of Gift Ali and Muzamir Mutyaba.
“David [Bagoole] has had a good season. When players are not selected, it doesn’t mean they are bad players but they just don’t they fit in the coach’s system,” he added.
Uganda will face defending champions Morocco, Togo and neighbours Rwanda in Group C.
The Cranes qualified for Chan after ejecting Somalia and Burundi at the preliminary stage. Chan is a competition exclusively for players in the country’s local leagues.
Uganda will be hoping for an improved performance after failing to come out of the groups in all its last four editions they have participated in.
Uganda Provisional Squad;
Goalkeepers: Charles Lukwago, Joel Mutakubwa, Alionzi Nafian, Saidi Keni, Edwin Kiwanuka
Defenders – Mustafa Kizza, Derrick Ndahiro, Paul Willa, Herbert Achai, Paul Willa, Ashraf Mandela, Geoffrey Wasswa, Halid Lwaliwa, Mbowa Patrick, John Revita, Mustafa Mujuzi,
Midfielders – Shafic Kagimu, Saidi Kyeyune, Bright Anukani, Paul Mucureezi, Mike Mutyaba, Karim Watambala, Hassan Ssenyonjo, David Owori, Ibrahim Orit, Julius Poloto
Forwards – Samson Kigozi, Viane Ssekajugo, Milton Karisa, Joachim Ojera, Fahad Bayo, Steven Mukwala, Cromwell Rwothomio, Brian Aheebwa.
The 2020 Chan Draw: Group A – Cameroon, Mali, Burkina Faso, Zimbabwe; Group B – Libya, DR Congo, Congo, Niger and Group C – Morocco, Rwanda, Uganda, Togo.