Uganda Cranes head coach Sebastien Desabre has released a 26-man squad that will fly out to United Arab Emirates for a training camp as the Cranes continue their preparations for the 2019 AFCON show piece in Egypt.
Part of the Cranes squad has been undergoing a week-long residential training at Kabira Country club with 11 out of the 19 players in camp chosen to continue preparations for the June-July tournament.
From the 11 local based players that were named yesterday, Desabre today afternoon added 15 players who ply their trade in different foreign leagues.
And the biggest surprise of them all was the return of Micheal Azira the holding midfielder who plays for Montreal Impact in the USA’s major league soccer.
Azira was part of the 23-man squad which represented Uganda at the 2017 tournament in Gabon but had a horror showing playing just 49 minutes; starting the game against Ghana before he was hauled off at half time and later coming on as a 90 minute substitute against Mali in the Cranes last group game.
Since then he has not featured or been called up again for national duty.
Also, Kizito Luwagga makes a return to the squad after the AFCON qualifier game against Tanzania in Namboole.
Dennis Iguma will miss out on the tournament due to injury while forwards Milton Kaliisa (FC Oudja), Austrian based Edrisa Lubega, former KCCA forward Muhamad Shabban and Yunus Sentamu have all been shunned by Desabre.
Sweden based striker Alexis Bakka will make his Cranes debut during the tournament. He is joined by another Sweden based defender Ronald Mukiibi who plays for Ostersunds.
Mukiibi was called up for Cranes duty for the 2017 tournament but declined the call up.
KCCA shot stopper Charles Lukwago is expected to link up with the team after the Cosafa tournament in South Africa.
The full Squad to Abu Dhabi:
Goalkeepers: Denis Onyango (Mamelodi Sundowns-South Africa), Jamal Salim (Al Hilal-Sudan), Robert Odongkara (Adama City FC-Ethiopia), Charles Lukwago (KCCA FC-Uganda).
Defenders: Bevis Mugabi (Yeovil Town- England), Nicholas Wadada (Azam FC-Tanzania), Awanyi Timothy (KCCA FC-Uganda), Hassan Wasswa Mawanda (Unattached), Ronald Mukiibi (Ostersunds-Sweden), Murushid Juuko (Simba-Tanzania), Godfrey Walsumbi (Unattached), Muleme Isaac ( FK Viktoria Zizkov- Czech Republic), Joseph Ochaya (TP Mazembe-DR Congo)
Midfielders: Tadeo Lwanga (Vipers SC-Uganda), Khalid Aucho (Church Hill Brothers Fc-India), Kirizestom Ntambi- Coffee FC –Ethiopia), Michael Azira (Montreal-USA), Waisswa Moses (Vipers SC-Uganda), Sadam Juma (KCCA FC-Uganda), Faruku Miya (HNK Gorica FC- Croatia), Kizito Luwagga (Shakhter Karagandy-Kazakhstan), Katregga Allan ( Maritzburg-South Africa)
Strikers: Patrick Kaddu (KCCA FC-Uganda), Allan Kyambadde (KCCA FC-Uganda), Alexis Bakka (Carlstad United- Sweden), Nsibambi Derrick (Smouha- Egypt), Emmanuel Arnold Okwi (Simba- Tanzania)