Ismail Watenga has been the second Ugandan player to receive an exemption from participating in the Carling Knockout Cup due to his Islamic faith, which prohibits the consumption of alcohol, a product associated with the competition's sponsor.
Golden Arrows, Watenga's club, honoured his religious beliefs by excusing him, resulting in his absence from Lamontville's 3-0 loss to AmaZulu in the quarterfinals and the previous 3-1 victory against Cape Town City in the Round of 16.
His compatriot, Salim Jamal Magoola, also abstained from participating due to his Islamic faith, missing out on Richards Bay's triumphs against Moroka Swallows and Orlando Pirates in their cup campaign.
While Golden Arrows bowed out in the quarterfinals, Magoola's Richards Bay advanced to the semifinals and is slated to play Stellenbosch on December 2.
Both Watenga and Magoola have been called up by Uganda Cranes' newly appointed head coach, Paul Joseph Put, for the 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifiers during the November international break.
17:26 - 08.11.2023
Uganda Cranes goalkeeper Ismail Watenga and his side, Golden Arrows, missed an opportunity to go within a point of his compatriot Denis Onyango's Mamelodi Sundowns in the South African Premier Soccer League.
As the Cranes prepare to face Guinea and Somalia on November 17 and 21 in Morocco, it remains to be seen who Put will select as the starting goalkeeper.