Godfrey Walusimbi’s international retirement after a ten year tenure has left the Uganda Cranes left back position up for grabs.
New coach Jonathan Mckinstry is expected to shuffle the pack in search for the suitable option.
There are a number of contenders to be considered, the race seems tight which is a big blessing.
Joseph Ochaya – TP Mazembe
He got his first national team call up way back in 2012 and has been an immediate understudy of Jaja Walu (read Godfrey Walusimbi).
He has not played for ghe National team very often and the best most Ugandans remember him is that advert where he then coach Micho asked him what his role was. With Walusimbi out of the picture, now is the time for Ochaya to get out of the shadow and prove his role with actions.
An experienced player who can play along the left line, a good crosser of the ball and has leadership skills.
He established himself with KCCA and has featured for Asante Kotoko, Lusaka Dynamos and TP Mazembe.
Alex Kakuba – CD Cova
He began his professional career with Proline FC and was once highly regarded as a top coveted prospect.
He later joined Esperanca Lagos in 2012 in Portugal. He has been in Greece before and has now returned to Portugal with CD Cova.
He has been ignored on many occasions by the national selectors and he will be expected to prove doubters wrong when given a chance.
Isaac Muleme – Victoria Zizkov
One of my favourites on this list – Yes, am a fan of Uganda Cranes by default.
Aged 26, this is Muleme’s time to lay claim to the left back position.
He has about 35 national caps and he will be hungry for more. He started with SC Villa where he played from 2009 to 2013. He has played for Victoria University, KCCA, Alassiouty Sport and Haras El Hodoud.
This international exposure has surely added a lot in areas where he used to struggle like decision making and he will be a vital figure in Mckinstry’s set up.
Mustafa Kizza – KCCA FC
While appearing on NBS on Sunday, Captain Denis Onyango, when asked on who is a possible replacement of Jaja Walu, said that there are many options and went on to name the KCCA youngster.
Mustafa is seen by many as an improved version of Ochaya.
A promising youngster who has graduated from the KCCA soccer academy in 2017. He has had trials in Europe and has risen through the junior ranks of the national team – Kobs and Hippos.
A volume crosser of the ball and he is considered by many as a firm favourite to be the permanent replacement for Jaja Walu as he has already proved to be a dependable left back for KCCA.
Disan Galiwango – Express FC
He has been in the set up under Sebastien Desabre and Abdallah Mubiru and he will hope for similar fortunes under new coach.
He has leadership skills, evidenced by his captaincy role with Express. He has barely missed a game for his club since he joined, the consistency that has seen him help the Wankulukuku based side wither the storm since last year.
He has been used as an attacking winger and could prove to be a handy utility player for Mckinstry as he is capable of playing anywhere on the left.
Notable mention: Shafic Batambuze – Gor Mahia
He has three games with the national team and it comes as a surprise to many who rates him highly and know what he is capable of.
He has played for Simba, Villa, Western Stima, Sofapaka, Tusker, Singida and Gor.
His chance to put on the national jersey again will depend on how fast he will recover from his knee injury where costs for surgery have proved a challenge for him and his club.
Future prospects – Aziz Kayondo (Vipers) and Derrick Ndahiro (SC Villa)
Pretenders to the throne – Simon Namwanja (Wakiso Giants) and Rashid Okocha (Onduparaka)