Watching the on-going edition of the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) in Ivory Coast has not only produced shocks and surprises but also sweet and bitter memories.
The Cranes have taken part in seven Afcons yet some of Uganda’s greatest players never got a chance to feature in the tournament. I have picked some players who could have excelled if they had played in this prestigious tournament.
PAUL HASULE (RIP)
His career epitomised versatility, as he adeptly filled roles at right-back, centre-half, and midfield positions for SC Villa and the Uganda Cranes. His exceptional technique, distribution and knack for tackling made him a force to be reckoned with on the field. His Uganda Cranes career stretched from 1981 to 1993 in which he captained the team from 1988.
The classy defender, known for his game-reading prowess, emerged as one of the most stylish defenders in Ugandan football. Despite initial perceptions of lack of pace as a major weakness, Sekagya compensated it with intricate game-reading, earning acclaim both locally and internationally. Having started his Cranes career in 1996, he captained the team from 2005 to 2011.
MAGID MUSISI (RIP)
Arguably the most complete striker in Ugandan football history, Magid Musisi stood as a beacon of talent during a transformative era for the sport.
Possessing a unique blend of physical prowess and technical finesse, Musisi’s skillset was nothing short of complete. His career stretched from 1987 to 2000.
Undoubtedly one of the most exciting attacking midfielders in Ugandan football, he earned a reputation for his extraordinary talent and gift on the field.
His flair for passing, game-reading, and goal-scoring abilities set him apart as a true icon of his era. His Uganda Cranes career stretched from 1987 to 1999.
He was the hottest property in Ugandan football in the eighties and early nineties. His popularity transcended his goal-scoring prowess on the pitch.
Sekatawa was the first superstar in Ugandan football to earn endorsements and image rights. His Uganda Cranes career stretched from 1981 to 1992.
He is one of the finest shot-stoppers the country has ever produced. Wassa was renowned for his reflexes, bravery, good organisation of defence and as a spot-kick specialist.
He was Uganda Cranes first-choice keeper, and his game improved greatly when he moved from Nile FC to KCCA FC in 1989. He played for the Uganda Cranes from 1988 to 1994, winning two Cecafa Cups in 1989 and 1990.
The diminutive player used his exceptional skills to fight his way to the top in an era dominated by physical players. Such was his brilliance that he made things look easy and made those around him look good. His Uganda Cranes career stretched from 1987 to 1993.
The forward was exceptionally skilled, a good dribbler and a ball passer, on top of being endowed with hard shots. On his day, Obua could single-handedly win a game for Uganda. However, his talent was undermined by his hot head. His Uganda Cranes career stretched from 2003 to 2011.
He is widely regarded as one of Uganda’s greatest players. He was not only solid in defence but also a good goal scorer who, at times, impressed as a striker. His Uganda Cranes career started in 1981 and he captained the team from 1984 till his retirement in 1988.
OTHER KEY PLAYERS
The rest include Godfrey Kateregga, Richard Mugalu, Mathew Lucha, Paul Nkata, Ronnia Vubya, William Nkemba, Sam Kabugo, Moses Ndaula, Sula Kato, George Otto, Fred Mugisha, Sam Ssimbwa, George Ssimwogere, Sunday Mokiri, Fred Tamale and Willy Kyambadde, among others.
Others are Obadiah Semakula, Raymond Mutebi formerly known as Raymond Luganda, George Nsimbe and Rogers Nsubuga.