Uganda Cranes coach Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojevic has called upon three new players to his preliminary squad for the upcoming Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.
Dulwich Hamlet and former Crystal Palace striker Ibra Ssekagya, Bognor Regis forward Nathan Odokonyero, and AFC Port Chester striker Tirhys Luknyomoi have been added to the initial 33 players that were called upon.
The trio’s inclusion comes even before the whirlwind of Yunus Ssentamu’s exclusion settles, and will be involved with the Cranes for the first time.
They are however not expected to walk straight into Micho’s final squad, with the coach quickly noting that they still have to prove themselves against the other options.
“The idea is to have them here in time to test, analyze and compare them against our locally-based players,” Micho said after Tuesday’s training session.
“We are happy that they have the desire to play for Uganda. However, that is not enough. They need to come and prove their qualities against the rest of the players and then make a decision.”
“They are coming off wonderful seasons in their respective clubs in England, so the motivation is with them at least,” he added.
Ssekagya (not to be confused with legend Ibrahim Ssekagya) is a player that has had close links with the Cranes since breaking out at Crystal Palace in 2011.
The now 29-year-old however has been kept on the waiting list by the Cranes – only earning a call up by Micho in March 2013 – as well as with England with whom he was even called up to their U16 team in August 2013.
Meanwhile, Odokonyero, who will be making 20 in December, is off the back of a tremendous season with lower division side Bognor Regis in the United Kingdom.
The striker who can play with both feet has been involved in 35 goals for his side, including 25 goals and 10 assists including a hattrick against Waltham in the FA Trophy third qualifying round.
Odokonyero, who started his career with Lincoln Town FC, was called up to the Uganda U20 ahead of the U20 AFCON finals in February 2021 but was sadly left out of the final squad after he failed to be granted clearance.
Lokonyomoi will be involved with the national team for the first time, but his career has seen him feature for Oxford City U-19, Didcot Town Reserves, Oxford United Development, Portsmouth University, and AFC Port Chester.