Uganda Cranes interim head coach Abdallah Mubiru is so far impressed with the fitness levels of the players that are undertaking training with the national team.
The Cranes are preparing for their preliminary round qualifiers to the African Nations Championships (CHAN) where they will face Somalia in a two-legged affair. The first leg scheduled is scheduled to be played in Mogadishu on July 26 with the second leg to be played a week later in Kampala.
The Cranes started their non-residential training this week on Sunday and Mubiru has been taking them through their paces at the StarTimes Stadium, Lugogo with emphasis thus far on possession play.
“Our major focus has been on how we transition especially when we have the possession and are on the attack and of course that encompasses how we act and react when we lose the ball,” Mubiru told Watchdog Uganda.
But ultimately, it is the fitness levels that the players in camp so far have exhibited in training that has impressed the coach.
“We are in the off season and I expected most of the players to exhibit low-levels of fitness. But I have been impressed with the individual fitness levels. Of course, some are a bit ahead of the others but that is something we have been working on and we are almost having similar levels,” Mubiru added.
The Cranes are expected to enter residential camp on Thursday morning before they travel for a ‘Cranes na Mutima’ tour match against Kitara Region select in Hoima.
This, Mubiru says, is the game that will help them gauge how far they have reached in regards application of the work they have been undertaking.
“It is good that we have a friendly game, but we shall not be looking at the result but how well we apply what we have been working on in training this while because that gives us the direction we take as we enter residential camp,” he further stressed.
Twenty three players have already turned up for training including the quartet of Timothy Awany, Allan Kyambadde, Taddeo Lwanga and striker Patrick Kaddu who represented the country at the African Cup of Nations all available.
However, seven KCCA players who are still with their club in the on-going CECAFA club championships in Kigali are yet to turn up.
“When we summoned the squad, we knew that the seven KCCA players will not be available initially. But that will not affect our preparations in anyway as we have 23 players already,” Mubiru said.
The final squad that will travel to Somalia is expected to be released on Thursday next week.