Uganda Cranes and Chippa United goalkeeper Ismail Watenga is confident that their efforts as players along with those of the technical team will go a long way in helping to deliver the country to the promised land (FIFA World Cup).
This he passionately expressed during an interaction with the media following the conclusion of the day’s training sessions as the team intensified preparations for the forthcoming qualifier games.
The former Vipers SC shot-stopper was recalled to national duty in June this year following a number of absenteeism years, which had many Ugandans wondering whether he was to be restored in the fold.
He featured for the Cranes in an international friendly against South Africa in Johannesburg where he witnessed his side fall to an agonizing 3-2 defeat to the hosts.
During his interaction with the media, the custodian excitedly highlighted how much he relished the opportunity of joining the team again and experiencing the feel-at-home atmosphere yet again.
“I am so happy to join the camp and I must say that I feel at home. My friends and brothers with whom I grew up are here so it is indeed a good feeling to represent my country as we prepare for the World Cup Qualifiers.” He stated.
Watenga is seen as the overwhelming favorite to succeed former Cranes captain Denis Masinde Onyango, who retired from International football earlier this year.
He will however need to shrug off competition from Charles Lukwago, Joel Mutakubwa and a host of other experienced goalkeepers who might not be in the fold currently.
“It’s a blessing to be among the few who were given the chance to represent the country, we are positive in training and ready to represent Uganda to the best of our abilities,” Watenga added.
He alongside Moses Waiswa, Joseph Ochaya, Khalid Aucho and Tadeo Lwanga joined their teammates in Bahir Dar City Ethiopia ahead of their friendly game against the host country’s national team.
They will face Ethiopia on Sunday in the build-up game before the official Group E Qualifiers opener against East African neighbours Kenya. This will be followed with a game against Mali at the St. Mary’s stadium in Kitende.
The Uganda Cranes Squad
Goalkeepers – Ismail Watenga (Chippa United), Joel Mutakubwa (Express FC), Charles Lukwago (KCCA FC)
Defenders – Enock Walusimbi (Express FC), Innocent Wafula (KCCA FC), Joseph Ochaya (TP Mazembe), Azizi Kayondo (Vipers SC), Halid Lwaliwa (Vipers SC), Murushid Juuko (Express FC), Garvin Kizito Mugweri (SC Villa), Kenneth Ssemakula (SC Villa), Denis Iguma (KCCA FC)
Midfielders – Bobosi Byaruhanga (Vipers SC), Shafik Kuchi Kagimu (URA FC), Ibrahim Orit (Vipers SC), Khalid Aucho (Young African), Taddeo Lwanga (Simba SC), Moses Waiswa (Supersport United), Milton Karisa (Vipers SC), Abdu Lumala (Pyramids FC)
Forwards – Steven Dese Mukwala (URA FC), Richard Basangwa (Vipers), Emmanuel Arnold Okwi (Unattached), Yunus Ssentamu (Vipers SC), Martin Kizza (Express FC)