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THE CECAFA U20 VICTORS; Meet the stars who made the nation proud by qualifying for AFCON

Football

THE CECAFA U20 VICTORS; Meet the stars who made the nation proud by qualifying for AFCON

DANITO NSUBUGA

They started the campaign on a low with an uninspiring 0-0 draw against South Sudan but Morley Byekwaso’s men silenced their critics with a series of commanding displays that saw them score 13 goals and conceding only three enroute to being crowned champions and ultimately sealing a place at next year’s AFCON U20 championship to be hosted by Mauritania.

We profile the next generation of stars on whom the hope of the nation lies.

Jack Komakech

A consistent performer for the underage sides. Komakech played at the U17 AFCON under Kwesi Fabin Apaa and he kept his place when Morley Byekwaso took over.

A product of Ascent soccer Academy (Formerly Football for Good), Komakech later joined the URA junior team while a student at Buziga Islamic school.

The coronavirus outbreak disrupted his planned move to South African giants Supersport United, where he was going to join as an apprentice. We hope the move is still on for the talented goalkeeper.

James Senyondwa Kaala

The young SC Villa goalkeeper is among the only very few players not to have kicked a ball at the tournament.

He is the only player in the squad not to have featured in the FUFA Juniors league or even any other national underage team. Villa signed him from Lubaga based Super Cubs Soccer Academy.

Musa Ramathan

It is only by fate that the towering KCCA FC defender chose to represent Uganda at the expense of South Sudan. He received a series of call-ups to join their camp but he turned their advances down.

The KCCA junior team graduate got himself red-carded in the opening match against South Sudan but later regained his place during the knockout stages against Kenya. That proves how much Byekwaso trusted him.

Bobos Byaruhanga

The former Vipers junior team captain sparked a tug of war among Uganda premier league clubs when he walked on Vipers in search of first-team football.

Uganda’s starman Ivan Bogere emerged top scorer

It is reported that Byaruhanga got licensed by SC Villa at the start of the 2019/20 season only for the Vipers FC chairman to intervene furiously.

Prior to the 2018/19 season, Byaruhanga tried to force a loan move to SC Villa with competitors Pius Wangi and Dan Birikwalira but the deal fell through, He was fresh from captaining Vipers JT to glory in the FUFA Juniors league.

He started all four of Uganda’s matches in Tanzania

Richard Basangwa

The fast-paced winger is a student of St. Mary’s Kitende and a winner of the Copa Cola schools competition that was hosted by Jinja S.S.

He has also been a mainstay in Byekwaso’s team throughout the tournament.

Kenneth Semakula

Murushid Juuko reborn, the calm and composed defender has a striking resemblance in style like that of the famous Cranes defender.

Semakula capped his commanding display by scoring the first goal against Kenya in the semi-final.

A product of the Busoga United junior team, Semakula achieved elevation to the senior team where he caught the eye of BUL FC who snapped him up.

Gavin Kizito Mugweri

Captain fantastic needs no introduction. The SC Villa defender displays maturity beyond his age, he is one of the most decorated players to have pulled on the national colors having also captained Uganda at the U17 level.

Kizito joined the URA junior team from St. Julian S.S Gayaza, from where he caught the eye of Vipers JT who also lost him to the SC Villa JT.

Najib Yiga

Steven Serwadda joined by Richard Basangwa and Kenneth Semakula in celebration for one of the goals

The ultimate team player, Yiga oozes class with his tactical displays, great vision and balance for the team. After impressing at the 2018 AFCON U17, the former Kisozi Seed school player received an offer to join St. Mary’s Kitende via the Vipers JT to be promoted to the Vipers senior team.

Yiga was among the scorers when Uganda obliterated Burundi to secure a place in the knockout stages.

Isma Mugulusi

A young brother of Ibrahim Mugulusi of BUL FC. The S.6 student at Jinja S.S, Mugulusi is on the books of Busoga United FC but a big move to premier league giants KCCA FC is apparent.

Steven Serwadda

Surprisingly, the skillful youngster was registered in the tournament as a defender/wingback, a role he executed perfectly until being moved to his favored forward positions.

The KCCA Junior team graduate mostly impressed during his time at Old Kampala S.S, a feat that earned him a move to St. Mary’s Kitende S.S.

Like Allan Okello, Julius Poloto, and Mustafa Kizza, Serwadda is among the elite class of super talented players of the KCCA junior team that failed to win the Juniors league

Ivan Bogere

Born to score goals. Bogere has always emerged top scorer in every major competition he has taken part in.

He led the scorers chat when Proline FC secured promotion to the premier league in the 2018/19 big league season with 15 goals. Bogere starred in Proline’s CAF confederation cup campaign scoring five goals against Malawi’s Masters Security Systems and AS Kigali of Rwanda.

Bogere also starred in the Buganda Masaza Cup while with Buwekula and emerged the second-leading scorer of the 2018 edition.

He joined Proline FC from Lungujja Galaxy, a Kampala regional league club.

Aziz Kayondo

Azizi Kayondo mobbed by teammates in celebration for Uganda’s goals

Another star on the rise. Kayondo’s lung-bursting runs across the left flank have seen him win a place at the Vipers senior team.

Captain of the St. Mary’s Kitende Copa Cola championships winners, Kayondo’s rise is the reason why long-serving captain Dan Birikwalira was shown the exit door. The former Vipers JT captain will be a key figure for Morley Byekwaso’s attempt at securing qualification for the World cup U20.

Ivan Asaba

Very synonymous with the national underage teams, the 2018 Juniors league MVP has not had a telling contribution to this victory.

Asaba will have to double his efforts if he is to make the grade for the trip to Mauritania.

He is still a student at St. Mary’s Kitende and a member of the Vipers JT.

Faizal Wabyona

Another member of the squad not to have kicked a ball in the tournament. The Big talent soccer academy midfielder will represent Bright stars JT in the coming season.

Raymond Onyai

A star performer for Amus college in the Copa Coca Cola championships in Mbarara, the former Kataka FC striker is now on the books of Mbarara City FC.

He played the opening match of the tournament against South Sudan.

Joseph Kafumbe

His goal for KCCA in the league against SC Villa introduced him to Ugandan folklore, the former Buddo S.S midfielder received a promotion to the KCCA senior team from the Junior team. He is a product of Super Cubs Soccer Academy.

Joseph Kizza Bukenya

Alongside Musa Ramathan and Joseph Kafumbe, Kizza Bukenya lost the Junior league crown to BUL JT.

The flying silky winger was always employed as an impact substitute by Morley Byekwaso, he scored in Uganda’s rout over Burundi.

Ashraf Mulindi

Nicknamed Messi by the locals in Mbale, the Kataka FC midfielder was an unused substitute for the entire tournament.

Alpha Thierry Ssali

Grandson to former Local government minister, KCCA FC coach and Uganda cranes team manager Jaberi Bindandi Ssali. Alpha earned his debut in the 6-1 mauling of Burundi and that was his only contribution for the entire tournament.

The Proline JT captain will play next season’s big league season as a senior player. He has played for Proline since the age of three.

Richard Bbosa

Express FC’s new signing from Super Cubs did not get a chance of showcasing what he can do at the tournament. He is however in the safe hands of his namesake to prove to Morley Byekwaso that he deserves a place on the plane to Mauritania next year.

(Credit to Reagan Mulekyezi, Senior Football commentator FUFA FM)

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