Twelve-times Challenge Cup winners and hosts Uganda remain as the team to beat in the annual championship that kicks off tomorrow at the Nelson Mandela Stadium in Kampala tomorrow.
Team cohesion, competent coach and football tactics are behind the East Africa’s football hub country.
The team has won the regional title in almost every soil in the region and playing before their own fans will be no surprise in terms of retaining the title.
Coached by Scottish Bob Williamson for over four years now, Uganda that missed the African Nations Cup qualifier berth by a whisker still looks dominant and formidable.
Matching the Ugandans pace will always be a tall order as the team has all it takes to cruse into the final and probably to win again.
Despite football’s dramatic results at times, Uganda is the team the rest of the competitors know how difficult it would be to beat or eliminate from the championship.
It might lose a match or two in the preliminary stages of the tourney but other competing teams should be careful if it cruises into the knockout stages.
Very few countries have managed to lift the Challenge Cup from the claws of the Cranes including Zanzibar in 1995, but the current FUFA secretariat is alert and watchful to thwart such onslaughts.
Uganda open the title retention campaign as they take on Kenya at the Nelson Mandela Stadium in Kampala tomorrow in a match expected to be full of thrills and entertainment.
It was Kenya that shattered Uganda’s long standing dream of winning the African Nations Cup berth for the finals staged in Equatorial Guinea and Gabon in 2010.
However, the team’s recent performance against African Champions Zambia two months ago still has all it takes to be title contenders for another Challenge Cup. While Kenya and Mainland Tanzania have won eight titles between them, Uganda will be looking for the thirteenth silverware of the regional football.
In a surprise move, Cranes have offloaded their notorious winger Steven Bengo on grounds of unimpressive form.
The flamboyant midfielder was the most prominent exclusion from the 20-man team that coach Williamson released on Wednesday.
The full squad includes: Goal keepers:
Ali Kimera, Hamza Muwonge, Abel Dhaira
Denis Iguma, Nicholas Wadada, Godfrey Walusimbi, Joseph Ochaya, Henry Kalungi, Isaac Isinde, Hassan Wasswa
Saidi Kyeyune, Godfrey Kizito, Joseph Mpande, Manko Kawesa, Moses Oloya, Brian Majwega
Robert Sentongo, Emma Okwi, Hamis Kizza and Brian Umony.
Conspicuos omission from the etam includes former skipper Andy Mwesigwa, Tony Maweje and Simon Masaba whose age is taking its toll.