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Sébastien Desabre
Sébastien Desabre

Uganda's new coach, Sébastien Desabre, has tipped his team to perform well at the 2018 Africa Nations Championship (CHAN), which kicks off on Friday.

Speaking after the last training session in Rabat, Morocco on Thursday before the Cranes travelled to Marrakech, the Frenchman said preparations have been good and the team is ready for the tournament.

"I am happy with the positive attitude shown during this period we have been in camp. The players and staff have been immense. Team work will be key when we arrive in Marrakech," said Desbare, who took charge of the team on 28 December last year.

Desabre, whose team played two international friendly matches where they drew 1-1 with Guinea and lost 1-0 to Congo Brazzaville in the last six days in Rabat, said the opening game against Zambia on 14 January will be very important because it determines lots of things. "It is a good team and we expect them to make Ugandan fans happy by getting good results on the pitch."

Defender Isaac Muleme, featuring in his third CHAN tournament,is also optimistic of picking up good results. "We have been facilitated well and all is fine in camp. The players are raring to go. We have learnt a lot of things under the new coach and we expect to make a difference on the pitch."

Uganda Cranes will open their campaign against Zambia in a Group B match on 14 January at the Marrakech Stadium. They then battle Namibia on 18 January and wind up against Côte d'Ivoire in the last group game on 22 January.

KCCA FC young striker Muhammad Shaban, who was top-scorer at the 2017 COSAFA U20 tournament in Zambia, together with club mates Derrick Nsibambi, Ibrahim Saddam Juma and Uganda's reigning player of the year, Muzamir Mutyaba, will be some of the stars to watch out for at the tournament.

The new coach will have his work cut out in guiding Uganda to the knockout stage. Although Uganda make their fourth appearance at the CHAN tournament, they have never gone past the group stage.

Final 23-man squad

Goalkeepers: Ismail Watenga, Benjamin Ochan, Saidi Keni.

Defenders: Nicholas Wakiro Wadada, Joseph Nsubuga, Timothy Awanyi, Mustapha Mujuzi, Bernard Muwanga, Isaac Muleme, Aggrey Madoi

Midfielders: Milton Karisa, Paul Mucureezi, Allan Kyambadde, Seif Batte, Rahmat Senfuka, Taddeo Lwanga, Abubaker Kasule, Moses Waiswa, Ibrahim Saddam Juma, Muzamir Mutyaba

Strikers: Muhammad Shaban, Derrick Nsibambi, Nelson Senkatuka

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