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The Cranes stars that never made it to the Nations Cup

1984 Uganda Cranes squad

1984 Uganda Cranes squad back row (L-R): Phillip Omondi, Charles Masiko, Fred Mukasa, Alex Olum, Ronnie Vubya, Shaban Mwinda and Tom Lwanga. Front row (L-R): John Tebusweke, John Latigo, Paul Nkata and Charles Katumba

Following my take last week on the top Uganda Cranes players that missed out to play at Afcon, several fans reached out asking to expand the list. Here we go!

GODFREY KATEREGGA

He was extremely talented, revered and even idolized by fans. The stylish left-winger regularly destroyed defences with his dribbling, and scored goals at will.

Going by his top performances, one would have expected him to light up the continent. His Uganda Cranes career lasted five years between 1980 and 1985.

PAUL NKATA

He was one of the most elegant players to grace the game and in the 1980s, he entertained fans with his passing and dribbling. His Uganda Cranes career stretched from 1983 to 1994.

DAVID KAMOGA

Kamoga remains as one of the most powerful and prolific strikers the country has ever produced. He was such a menace that on two occasions, he tore the Nakivubo stadium nets with his piledrivers.

He did it again with The Cranes in Mwanza during the 1981 Cecafa Cup. However, Uganda’s withdrawal from both the 1980 and 1982 Afcon qualification rounds shattered his chances to showcase his might. His Cranes career  lasted for four years from 1979 to 1983.

RONNIE VUBYA

He was hugely talented and one of the most versatile players this country has ever produced. He joined the Uganda Cranes in 1984, featuring in several outfield positions. But like many stars of his generation, that era was mired by a toxic club rivalry among the traditional giants.

This played a role in Uganda’s failure to put up a formidable Cranes team to qualify for Afcon. His Cranes career stretched from 1984 to 1990.

SAM KABUGO

A tough tackler, the defender emerged from Nsambya FC and stormed the Uganda Cranes in 1987. His never-say-die attitude made him a top contender for Cranes positions. He captained Uganda Cranes from 1993 to 1995 and cut short his career due to a knee injury.

RICHARD MUGALU

The presence of Geoffrey Higenyi and Charles Masiko at left-back delayed his Cranes career. However, he joined the 1985 Uganda Cranes squad for the Zimbabwe-hosted Cecafa Cup. He was a solid defender who became renowned for his fine overlaps which resulted into goals.

He was part of the team which was on the brink of qualifying for the 1988 Afcon before club politics destroyed it. He played from 1985 to 1993.

FRED TAMALE

He was one of the most dynamic midfielders who was drafted in Uganda Cranes side shortly after he joined Express in 1993. Tamale was a dribbling wizard who regularly made elite players look ordinary. His career stretched from 1992 to 1997.

IBRAHIM BUWEMBO

His little frame was compensated with a huge talent. The left-footed winger was impressive for both Coffee FC and Uganda Cranes where he proved to be a master of assists. He featured in the Uganda Cranes from 1989 to 2000.

WILLIAM NKEMBA

Calmness on the ball was one of his biggest attributes. Nkemba was hugely talented and executed his defensive roles well in spite of his small size. His Uganda Cranes career lasted from 1987 to 1995.

FRANK KYAZZE

He was the goal-scoring king in the mid-1980s. His positioning was exceptional while his headers left most custodians flat-footed. The league top-scorer in 1984 and 1985, he was destined for bigger success but a knee injury cut short his Cranes career in 1986.

MOSES NDAULA

He was a key player in the seventies and eighties. A slender attacking midfielder, he often covered the full length of the field; tackling, intercepting and driving himself hard. His Cranes career stretched from 1978 to 1985.

SAM SSIMBWA

This special talent emerged from Lugogo, the home of KCCA FC. The winger-cum-midfielder was a hot property by 1989 when he was summoned for Uganda Cranes duty. He had a career which stretched from 1989 to 1994.

UMAR SENOGA

The giant striker arrived on the scene in 1988, a time when Magid Musisi was the undisputed starter. However, the two combined well to destroy opponents but Senoga’s career was undermined by off-the-pitch distractions. He played in the Cranes from 1988 to 1992.

bzziwa@observer.ug

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