Uganda Cranes Coach Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojevic has left out four professional players from the squad preparing for the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifier against Mauritania.
Kalungi plays professional football for Richmond Kickers in the United States, but the 26-year-old in the USL Professional Division star defender has been deemed surplus to requirements nonetheless. The Kampala native has not played for his country as much since Micho became Uganda coach 14 months ago.
Micho says Kalungi, is also processing a visa to South Africa for trials with one of the top clubs but this is the second time the Serb coach is giving the same reason for ignoring him.
Caykur Rizespor’s attacking midfielder Martin Kayongo Mutumba has also been left out of Micho’s selection though he rates the Turkey based player so highly. Mutumba is lacking enough playing time since moving to Turkey, Micho explained.
Gor Mahia’s diminutive forward Daniel Sserunkuma is surprisingly omitted after a season in which he was runner up in the Kenyan Premier League (KPL) charts and topscoring for Bobby Williamson’s club. He is also understood to be meant to travel to Denmark in a few days for trials while Tony Mawejje (Haugesund, Norway) has not been in action for some time yet his club is planning a loan move to a team in Iceland.
The Cranes will host Mauritania in the first leg on July 19th at the Mandela National Stadium, Namboole. The winning team on two legs will join the Group stage that has Guinea, Togo and the Black Stars of Ghana.
The coach said the international friendly matches against Seychelles on Friday and Malawi on Monday will help him decide on the final players to remain in camp for the Mauritania game.
Midfielder Khalid Aucho is also not invited since he is ruled out of the match with two yellow cards picked in the two legs against Madagascar in the second round. Aucho features for Tusker FC in the Kenya Premier League.
Midfielder, Mike Azira is the notable inclusion of the foreign based legion while the squad also has one of the Cranes most senior players Godfrey Walusimbi who missed the qualifiers in the first round against Madagascar due to suspension.
But despite Mauritania being ranked by Fifa at 137, 51 places below Uganda and 35 adrift of Equatorial Guinea, Micho does not expect cheaper opposition.
“When I watched their match (Equatorial Guinea 3-0 Mauritania) there I knew that complaint had been lodged,” told supersport.com.
“There is no good news because it’s same Patrice Neveu (Mauritania coach), who is top a class coach we played against in a friendly Kampala on 3rd January.
“But now we need to change focus from Latino style of Equatorial Guinea to French stamp and influence of Mauritania; from top class field and humidity of Malabo to artificial field and heat of Noukachot.
“But not even one player from that Mauritania team (that faced Cranes in a friendly in Kampala) will play because all of them are playing out in France, Algeria and England.”
Winners over the two legs will join qualifying Group E that has four-time African champions Ghana, Togo and Guinea.
Goal Keepers: Robert Odongkara, Denis Onyango, Benjamin Ochan and Ismail Watenga
Defenders: Nicolas Wadada, Denis Iguma, Godfrey Walusimbi, Saaka Mpima, Okoth Denis, Andrew Mwesigwa, Isaac Muleme, Brian Majwega, Richard Kasagga, Savio Kabugo, Isaac Isinde and Murushid Jjuuko.
Midfielders: Ivan Ntege, Geoffrey ‘Baba’ Kizito, Moses Oloya, William Luwagga Kizito, Mike Azira, Allan Kyambadde, Muzamil Mutyaba, Gaddafi Kiwanuka, Farouq Miya, William Wadri and Joseph Ochaya.
Strikers: Emmanuel Okwi, Geoffrey Massa, Hamis ‘Diego’ Kiiza, Brian Umony.