Uganda national football team roster, coach, world rankings, AFCON, nickname

Uganda national football team roster, coach, world rankings, AFCON, nickname

Helix Odhiambo
January 26, 2022 at 12:04 PM

The Uganda national football team, also known as The Cranes, is one of the most successful teams in East Africa. Like most countries in Africa, football is equally loved in Uganda and attracts a large fanbase of supporters. This article brings you all out about the Cranes' players, rankings, trophies, and much more.

Uganda national football team
Photo: (modified by author)
Source: UGC

When did football start in Uganda? Uganda Football Association, currently known as the Federation of Uganda Football Associations (FUFA), was established in 1924 to govern football and all related activities.

Profile summary

  • Full name: Uganda national football team
  • Uganda national football team nickname: The Cranes
  • Founded: 1924
  • Managed by: Federation of Uganda Football Associations
  • FIFA code: UGA
  • Colours: Red, white and yellow
  • Federation: CAF
  • FIFA ranking: 82 (as of December 2021)
  • Head coach: Milutin Sredojević
  • Captain: Khalid Aucho


Uganda national football team trophies
The Cranes fans gesture as their national team beat Congo Brazzaville during their 2018 World Cup qualifying football match at the Mandela National Stadium on 12 November 2016. Photo: John Batanudde
Source: Getty Images

Football was introduced in Uganda in the late 19th century by the early Anglican Church Missionaries from the United Kingdom. The missionaries included Robert Henry Walker, George Lawrence Pilkington and Alexander Gordon Fraser. They played a significant role in football's growth in the country. The game was, in most cases, played in the Missions before forming a national body in 1924 to expand it to other parts.

The Cranes' first official game was against Kenya on 1 May 1926 during the Gossage Cup (currently, CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup) final that ended in a 1-1 draw. However, Harambee Stars won the return fixture 2-1 to lift the title.

Uganda has, since then, featured in several competitions, including the CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup, African Nations Championship (CHAN), Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon), and World Cup qualifiers.

Uganda at CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup

Uganda Cranes is the most successful team in CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup with 15 titles. The team won its first title in 1973 after beating Tanzania 2-1 in the final.

Its latest CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup title was on 19 December 2019, following a convincing 3-0 victory over Eritrea at the Lugogo Complex in Kampala.

African Nations Championship (CHAN)

The prestigious biennial tournament was designed exclusively for home-based footballers. Ivory Coast hosted the inaugural edition in 2009, featuring eight teams. The Cranes have participated in the competition since 2011 but has not progressed past the group stages.

Afcon campaign

Uganda national football team Afcon
Uganda national football team players celebrate a goal against Lesotho in their 2019 Afcon qualifier match. Photo: @nyamadon
Source: Twitter

The East African country got affiliated to the Federation of International Football Associations (FIFA) and the Confederation of African Football (CAF) in 1960, allowing it to compete in continental and global competitions.

However, Uganda national football team Afcon and world cup journey have not been convincing compared to their CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup campaign. The team is, however, making strides towards competing with the best.

Their Afcon debut came in 1962. The United Arab Emirates knocked them 2-1 in the semifinal, followed by a 3-0 defeat by Tunisia in a 3rd Place Playoff game.

The Cranes have featured at the Africa Cup of Nations on seven occasions (1962, 1968, 1974, 1976, 1978, 2017 and 2019). Their best performance was in 1978, where they reached the finals of the showpiece. However, their dreams of winning the title were shuttered following a 2-0 defeat by hosts Ghana.

Has Uganda qualified for World Cup?

Like their neighbours Kenya and Tanzania, Uganda has never competed in a World Cup tournament. Their attempt to make it to Qatar in 2022 ended in vain after finishing second in the qualifying group, behind Mali, who progressed to the final round of qualifiers.

Uganda Cranes squad

Uganda national football team ranking
The Cranes players train before their opening group fixture against Burundi in the 2019 CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup. Photo: @Abubakari201
Source: Twitter

Who is the Uganda national football team captain? Versatile midfielder Khalid Aucho is currently holding the armband of the national team. So who are the players in the Uganda national football team 2021 squad? Here is the list of their full names, positions, and clubs.


  • Ismail Watenga – Chippa United, South Africa)
  • Charles Lukwago – Saint George, Ethiopia


  • Bevis Mugabi (centre-back) – Motherwell FC, Scotland
  • Geoffrey Wasswa (centre-back) – Kampala City Council
  • Halid Lwaliwa (centre-back) – Vipers SC, Uganda
  • Livingstone Mulondo (centre-back) – Vipers SC
  • Isaac Muleme (left-back) – FK Viktoria Zizkov, Czech Republic
  • Aziz Abdu Kayondo (left-back) – Vipers SC
  • Denis Iguma (right-back) – Kampala City Council


  • Shafiq Kagimu – URA Kampala
  • Khalid Aucho (defensive midfield) – Young Africans SC, Tanzania
  • Bobosi Byaruhanga (central midfield) – Vipers SC
  • Julius Poloto (right midfield) – Kampala City Council
  • Moses Waiswa (attacking midfield) – SuperSport United, South Africa


  • Martin Kizza (left-winger) – Express FC
  • Ibrahim Orit (right-winger) – Vipers SC
  • Allan Okello (centre-forward) – Paradou AC
  • Milton Karisa (centre-forward) – Vipers SC
  • Fahad Bayo (centre-forward) – Ihud Bnei Sakhnin
  • Stephen Mukwala (centre-forward) – URA Kampala

Who is the Crane's coach?

Uganda national football team coach
Micho Sredojevic gives instructions to his players during a football game. Photo: @R2_TV
Source: Twitter

The Cranes re-appointed Micho Sredojevic as head coach to replace Johnathan McKinstry in July 2021. Micho, who previously coached the 15-times CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup winners from 2013 to 2017, was tasked to lead the country to its first World Cup in 2022.

The Serbian also coached Zambia and Rwanda national teams as well as Sports Club Villa (Uganda), Young Africans (Tanzania), Al Hilal (Sudan), Orlando Pirates (South Africa) and Zamalek (Egypt), among others.

Who is Uganda's all-time top scorer?

Uganda national football team players
Geoffrey Massa (L) and Farouk Miya (R) are The Cranes' joint all-time top scorers. Photo: @OfficialFUFA @FaroukMiya (modified by author)
Source: Twitter

Geoffrey Massa and Farouk Miya are the Cranes' joint all-time top scorers, with 13 in 45 appearances each.

Uganda national football team world rankings

The Cranes are placed 82nd in the world according to the latest FIFA ranking released on 23 December 2021. What about Uganda Cranes rankings in Africa? In the continent, the country sits in the 16th position.

Based on their recent performances, the Uganda national football team remains the strongest team in East Africa.

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Helix Odhiambo photo
Helix Odhiambo
Sports Facts Writer