Being the only first timers among the eight teams in the AFCON U-17, the core of the Ugandan Cubs team is made up of players from Junior League, launched by the Federation of Uganda Football Associations in 2016.
The Cubs secured their ticket by virtue of their success at the CECAFA Zonal Championship in Tanzania last August, after beating Ethiopia 3-1 in the final.
Here is a short profile of five key players;
Nicknamed ‘Puyol’, he plays for Vipers and has won two titles with the Junior team as well his school, St Mary’s Secondary School. A central defender, abilities are good game reader, interceptor and aerial advantage.
“We have learnt a lot from the qualifiers and we want to replicate the same spirit like during the qualifiers. As captain, I will do my best to lead my colleagues and make Uganda proud. I want to make it to the FIFA U-17 World Cup, which will be a good step for my career”.
His colleagues call him ‘Marcello’. An attacking midfielder, he plays for Ndejje. Loves long balls with accuracy with a good sight for goals.
“I’m the first one in my family to play in the national team and I want to make an impact. Hard work is my priority. If I can score it will be a dream come true for me.”
His role model is Argentine midfielder ‘Angel Di Maria’. A member of Vipers, he has a good first touch, positional sense and ability to take on his markers with an eye for goal.
“I was in Tanzania during qualifiers. I know my role and I’m trying to perfect it and deliver at the big stage. My dream is to be at the FIFA U-17 World Cup in Brazil. Our opponents should expect a surprise from us.”
He is fondly called ‘Modric’. He is on the books of Bright Stars. A swift winger who loves scoring for fun using both feet. He helped Uganda to win CECAFA zonal qualifiers with a couple of goals.
“I’m looking forward for another chance to showcase my talent. I’m working hard to be a key member of the team. Our new coach (Samuel Kwesi Fabin) has been of good help to make sure I perfect my strength, and hopefully, we shall deliver to his instructions in Dar es Salaam.”
‘Torres’ is his claim to fame. The attacking midfielder scored five goals during the qualifiers in Dar es Salaam Tanzania last August.
“It’s going to be business as usual I will be at my game of scoring. We fought to get here and we want to battle for a slot to the FIFA U-17 World Cup in Brazil.”