This week's 2-2 draw with Rwanda was impressive but still leaves several questions in regards to Chan qualification, writes John Vianney Nsimbe.
Goals by debutant striker Daniel Serunkuma and youthful midfielder Saidi Kyeyune gave The Cranes a creditable 2-2 draw away to Rwanda in an International friendly match in Kigali on Wednesday February 6. This result must have delighted coach Bobby Williamson considering the new faces that made the team.
However, his objective of shaping up a team for the Africa Nations Championship (Chan) qualifiers that start mid this year still looks unaccomplished. For starters, even Serunkuma won't be eligible for the Chan now that he plays in Kenya for Gor Mahia. It is probably the reason why the erstwhile forward, Tony Odur was recalled for this friendly.
Odur has been out of Cranes reckoning since his last appearance in February 2011. At that time Cranes were at the Chan tournament in Sudan, where Odur exhibited some moments of indiscipline only to be out of Williamson's future plans.
But because the Scotsman has few options beyond Odur who has been in scoring form for KCC FC in the Fufa Super League, leading the charts with 12 goals, Odur was a late call-up even for this friendly.
Now, without Robert Ssentongo and Brian Umony who recently joined the paid ranks in Ethiopia and Tanzania respectively, Williamson has Odur to count on and maybe Herman Wasswa, who also has 12 goals this season.
A cap for Wasswa would have benefited Williamson as he structures his Chan team and maybe he will realise what an oversight it was not to have him among the party. That said, Williamson will hope that if it gets to that point where Cranes have to start the qualifiers before Wasswa has acquired any International experience, then Mike Serumaga, now at Proline will be in peak form to fill in as a second striker or a half-nine.
Serumaga can play there. In fact, it was Serumaga's goal away to Kenya in the last qualifiers in June 2010 that helped Cranes qualify for the Chan. But he transferred to a foreign league and couldn't qualify to play at the Chan itself thereafter.
Considering how much Cranes players are always on the move, one can't count on Serumaga and others still being around throughout the qualifiers, which begin in June when the International transfer window opens.
During the last Chan qualifiers, Fufa had to pull all stops to ensure that midfielder Musa Mudde played out the qualifiers. A transfer to Kenyan club side Sofapaka from Bombo side Simba SC was on and if it had happened fast, Mudde would have been ineligible for Chan.
However, at the moment, the fact that Williamson has brought forth the likes of Savio Kabugo, Fahad Kawooya to join his season campaigners like Simeon Masaba, Hamza Muwonge, Dennis Guma, Joseph Mpande and Hassan Wasswa seemingly around, Williamson has somewhere to start as he plans for Chan although doubts will linger regarding the team remaining unchanged come June.