The Uganda National Beach Soccer team, the Sand Cranes kick-started preparations for the forthcoming 2021 Africa Beach Soccer Cup of Nations qualifiers against Ghana under mundane circumstances.
The team finally entered the much waited residential camp on Sunday at the FUFA Technical Centre. Much waited because the side was supposed to enter camp during the course of last week and untill last Sunday, the team’s preparations had been shrouded under uncertainty of sorts.
The delay was owed to FUFA’s frenetic efforts to make the final touches of the newly constructed Beach Soccer facility in Njeru that will host the qualifier.
The situation has thrust the Sand Cranes in a race-aganist-time counadrum as Ghana encounter slated for March 27 edges closer.
Whlist, Sand Cranes’s misfortunes continue to unravel each day.
Just eleven (11) players out of the 20 summoned turned up for Monday’s double session training with the rest still tied out by Uganda Premier League assignments.
The absentees, most of whom are vital cogs in the team, are expected to join their counterparts on Thursday morning according to sources.
Wakiso Giants FC’s netminder Samson Kirya, Team captain Meddie Kibirige who turns out for SC Villa, Douglas Muganga of Busoga United FC and Brian Nkuubi at URA FC were notable no shows.
Others are Jamilu Maliyamungu, Paul Kato, Alex Emmanuel Wasswa, Rica Byaruhanga and Godfrey Lwesibawa didn’t turn up.
“Today was basically about assessing how the players stand in terms of fitness levels because most of them have not been around. We hope to have the whole team soon and embark on full preparations.” Coach Salim Muwonge noted.
But the side’s troubles were compounded when Coach Charles Lukula Ayiekho declined to work with side in the capacity of Fitness coach.
It’s reported that the three time title winning Coach was irked by the designation and was not ready to work despite pleas from the Custodians of local Beach Soccer.
The string of events coming at the back of each other has left the side’s preparations in a state of disarray.
Uganda will host Ghana on 27th March 2021 at FUFA Technical Centre, Njeru with the return leg coming between 9th-10th April. The winner on aggregate will qualify for the final tournament slated for May in Senegal.
Goalkeepers – Meddie Kibirige (Isabet), Jamilu Maliyamungu (MUBS), Samson Kirya (Entebbe Sharks), Nasser Lwamunda (KIU)
Defenders – Paul Lule (Buganda Royal), Davis Kasujja (MUBS), Douglas Muganga (MUBS), Paul Kato (Buganda Royal), Suleiman Ochero (St. Lawrence University)
Midfielders – Peter Mukwata (Mutoola Beach), Swaibu Kakwaya (Buganda Royal), Alex Emmanuel Wasswa (St. Lawrence University), Ronald Magwali (Buganda Royal), Rica Byaruhanga (Isabet)
Forwards – Ismail Kawawulo (MUBS), Brian Nkuubi (St. Lawrence University), Said Munir (MUBS), Swalleh Ssimbwa (St. Lawrence University), Godfrey Lwesibwa (Buganda Royal), Baker Lukooya (St. Lawrence University)
Head coach – Salim Jamal Muwonge
Assistant Manager – Peter Sseguya
Fitness Coach – Charles Lukula Ayiekoh
Team Physician – Ivan Kulika
Team Manager – Tonny Ssebagala
Media Officer – Julius Mutebi