Uganda’s danger men

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BONGANI MALUNGA

The Uganda national team boasts some of East Africa’s best attacking talents, at the fore front of their attacking department are European based pair Farouk Miya and Emmanuel Okwi who represent the future of Ugandan football. The duo has a combined tally of 31 goals at international despite being in the fledgling stages of their careers.
Emmanuel Okwi (striker)
The higher scoring of the two is striker Emmanuel Okwi, a 23 year old front man who has scored 18 goals in 42 games for the national team. Okwi is based in Denmark and plies his trade for Sonderjyske FC. He has an impressive record against Zebras, the striker scored twice against Botswana in an international friendly held in Gaborone in 2013.
Okwi is seen as a faster alternative to the experienced target-man Geoffrey Massa, he is a skillful and direct player who loves to drift to wide areas and can operate as an emergency winger on away games. He is arguably Uganda’s best all round striker given his pace, direct play and the ability to play in any attacking role, which makes him a potential menace to the Zebras.
The striker could be played in an attacking left sided role while Massa could be given the central striking role, Okwi often sacrifices his striking role to accommodate the left wing and pose a threat during counter attacks in away games.
He also has a knack of drawing fouls in dangerous areas in the opposition’s half. Zebras defenders should guard against his unstoppable bursts of pace in the penalty area, he drew the opposition defenders into conceding numerous penalties during his time at Simba SC in Tanzania.
Video analysis from Gazette Sport has also unearthed the player’s love for attempting long range shots, Kabelo Dambe would have to be on high alert as Okwi has caught numerous keepers napping and scored long range goals during his international games.
Farouk Miya (attacking midfielder)
Miya is an 18 year old attacking midfielder who has an impressive record of 13 goals in 24 games. His amazing displays for the Uganda under 23 national team saw him fast tracked to the senior side where he has quickly established himself as the team’s prized asset.
His eye for goal has made him one of the first names on Milutin Sredojevic’s team list, he was instrumental in his country’s 2015 CECAFA Cup triumph. The teenager scored three goals and ended the competition as Uganda’s top scorer on their way to a record 14th CECAFA Cup title.
He continued his hot scoring streak as he scored three goals in two games against 2006 World Cup participants Togo and eliminated them from the second round of the 2018 World Cup Qualifiers. Miya is the second highest scoring player in the African category of the 2018 World Cup Qualifiers with three goals so far, he is only a goal behind Algeria’s Islam Slimani.
The attacking midfielder is a strongly built player and his physical prowess is an added advantage for him, like any other attacking midfielder Miya has an impressive range of passing range. His short passing actions suit his style of play as he likes to evade his markers to occupy pockets of space  in the opposition’s half after laying off passes and finding space for himself.
He has mastered the art of making late runs in into the box, he usually starts Uganda’s moves and finishes them off because he is usually unmarked as most of the attention is always shifted to the strikers.
When in possession, he likes to release the ball early and add numbers in the box while anticipating a pass in the final third of the pitch, he may not always act as the facilitator of every move but his sole intention is to score goals for his side.

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