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CHAN 2020: Cranes CHAN team get preparations for return leg underway

Cranes head coach Abdallah Mubiru gives instructions to players during a training session at the Star Times stadium, Lugogo | FUFA media

Uganda Cranes team will play against Burundi in the second leg of the play-off round qualifiers for the 2020 African Nations Championships (CHAN) qualifiers on Saturday 19th October, at the Mandela National stadium, Namboole.

A squad of 25 players were summoned to undertake preparations for the hugely anticipated game underway, with non-residential training at the StarTimes stadium, Lugogo.

Under the watchful eyes of interim assistant coach Abdallah Mubiru, the team underwent a couple of drills at Lugogo, with focus on passing, tactical transitions and finishing, and will continue with a double session on Monday and Tuesday.

Mubiru however has warned against complacence from his players, because he believes that the tie is far from being decided, despite the Cranes having a 3-0 advantage after their first leg victory over Burundi in Bujumbura.

“This game still has another 90 minutes where anything can happen, we have seen very many big teams winning even by 4-0, then lose at home,” Mubiru told www.football-256.com.

“Burundi is a very complicated team, we managed to score three goals but it wasn’t an easy game, they are very strong team and I want to believe they had a bad day in office,”

“And they will come out to make sure that they change their fortunes. Therefore, we are not taking anything for granted, we are preparing for a very big battle between us and Burundi,” he added.

Mubiru said that he has emphasized the enormity of the task ahead and how important the game, and what will be at stake.

 “We emphasized the importance of this game; every player is aware of the task ahead of us and how important this game is compared to the previous games.”

Mubiru will be in charge of the team together with the other members of the technical team that handled the previous qualifying rounds that include Livingstone Mbabazi as his assistant, Sadiq Wassa the goalkeeping coach and Geofrey Massa as the team coordinator.

New Cranes coach Jonathan McKinstry will only take on an observer’s role, as he argues that it is only befitting for the team to see through the qualifying campaign since they have ably handled the previous rounds.

A total of 23 players were available for training on Monday, with midfielders Krizestom Ntambi, Vipers youngster Abdul Karim Watambala the only absentee as the former was part of the cranes team that played in an international friendly against Ethiopia yesterday.

The winner on aggregate between Uganda and Burundi will make it to the final CHAN tournament in Cameroon earlier next year.

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Cranes provisional squad:

Goalkeepers: Charles Lukwago, James Alitho, Joel Mutakubwa

Defenders: Paul Willa, Ashraf Mandela, Arafat Galiwango, Mustapha Kizza, John Revita, Halid Lwaliwa, Paul Mbowa, Mustafa Mujuzi

Midfielders: Nicholas Kasozi, Said Kyeyune, Yusuf Ssozi, David Owori, Krizestom Ntambi, Allan Okello, Shafique Kagimu, Vianne Sekajugo, Karim Watambala, Bright Anukani, Ibrahim Orit

Strikers: Fahad Bayo, Dan Sserunkuuma, Mike Mutyaba

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