Nations Cup was a perfect exhibition platform for Cranes’ players

Abdu Lumala (L) takes on a Zimbabwean opponent in the one all draw of the Nations Cup Group A match at the Cairo International Stadium / Bata Images

At the recently concluded Total Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt, a number of Uganda Cranes players showcased their talents hence attracting different clubs for their capture.

The Cranes exited the tournament at the Round 16 stage after they succumbed to a 1-0 loss to finalists Senegal.

But this was Cranes’ best performance at the continent’s greatest football showdown since 1978 when they lost to 2-0 to Ghana in the finals.

Although the Cranes were eliminated, their presence was remarkably felt in Egypt through extraordinary performances from some of the players.

Skipper and Mamelodi Sundowns goalkeeper Dennis Onyango, Emmanuel Arnold Okwi and Abdul Lumala were the highly-rated players in the Cranes camp.

Previously Uganda has had limited players playing serious foreign football but courtesy of the Africa Cup of Nations, that is changing slowly by slowly.

Before the tournament, nine of the Cranes players couldn’t see this coming but after, bids were tabled from different clubs most especially from Egypt.

Three of the nine players who benefited from the Nations Cup are local lads from Uganda Premier League champions KCCA FC and runners up Vipers SC.

KCCA duo in Timothy Awany and Allan Kyambadde left the 2019 CECAFA Champions for Israel side Ashdod FC and El Gouna FC in Egypt respectively.

Taddeo Lwanga is another domestic league player to go to Egypt joining newly-promoted Tanta SC in the Egyptian top tier division after seeing his contract out at Vipers.

Fans favourite Abdul Lumala quit Swedish side Kalmar FF to join his former national team coach Sebastien Desabre at Egyptian moneybags Pyramids.

Another sensation in striker Emma Okwi signed for Ittihad Alexandria from Tanzanian giants Simba SC after scoring twice for Uganda at the Nations Cup. Midfielder Khalid Aucho crossed to Misr Lel Makkasa Sporting Club also in Egypt.

Despite playing for just a few minutes when Onyango went off injured against Egypt, Robert Odongkara too signed for Guinean side Horoya Athletic Club from Ethiopian outfit Andama City.

With Shaban Muhammad muted at Raja Casablanca before his move to Vipers, reports have continuously linked Uganda Cranes defender Murushid Juuko for a move to the Moroccan giants after deciding to leave Simba in Tanzania.

One may also think of Moses Waiswa who also left the Venoms for SuperSport United in the ABSA Premiership much as he sustained an injury in preparations for the Nations Cup much as he didn’t make the team.

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