Mpande counting his Chan chances

Uganda Cranes midfielder Joseph Mpande believes this is his time to prove his worth.

Joseph Mpande in training
Joseph Mpande in training

The Vipers player, in his early 20s, is training with the team at Namboole as they prepare for next weekend’s Africa Nations Championship (Chan) qualifier away to Tanzania.

Mpande has only three caps for the senior national side, but with only one of them a competitive game which came against South Sudan at last year’s Cecafa in Kampala.

Comfortable as an attacking midfielder through the middle, Mpande is also comfortable playing on the left wing cutting inside.

Having trained with the senior team in the build-up to last month’s World Cup qualifiers against Liberia and Angola but without featuring in the games, Mpande now believes the upcoming tie against Tanzania and the prospect of featuring at the championship in South Africa next year are happening just at the right time.

“I believe that now is the time,” he said after Tuesday’s training, adding, “Even during training I can feel it. I can see the progress.

“And with Chan coming up, especially the game against Tanzania, I can’t wait. I believe I have done my part by training hard, the rest is for the coach.”

Mpande’s chances are especially enhanced by Tonny Mawejje, Martin Mutumba, Kizito Luwagga and Moses Oloya’s absences as Chan is a tournament for only home-based players.

Meanwhile, Ismail Watenga, Musa Malunda (Vipers), Herman Wasswa and Tonny Odur (KCC) joined the training on Tuesday to make up 27 players who partook in Micho Sredojevic’s drills.

In another development, striker Caesar Okhuti has been ruled out with injury while Savio Kabugo, who is in South Africa at Bidvest University for trials, is expected in the country soon. The team enter residential training on Saturday.

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