I have no doubt the Cranes can shake up the Africa Cup of Nations that kicks off this weekend.
This is so because Uganda has never had a scarcity of talent and whereas the team lacks an identity in playing style, the approach is always effective in frustrating opponents.
This was actually evident in the 1-0 win over Ivory Coast in last week’s friendly.
That’s why, save for the questionable display in the 0-3 loss to Tanzania loss in the last competitive game before Afcon, Uganda rarely concedes more than a goal.
And all credit to Dennis Onyango, arguably the finest shot-stopper on the continent. However, it seems Uganda’s chances start and end with Onyango because the team hardly does anything meaningful upfront.
You may have realised that over the years, we rely heavily on set pieces with minimal interplay amongst our attackers.
Therefore, it is against that background that I hold reservations for The Cranes to go far in the tournament; more so because most exciting strikers were overlooked.
It is an open secret that coach Sebastian Desabre has little say in selections but at least one of Juma Balinya, Bashir Mutanda and Joel Madondo should have made the squad after the trio’s electrifying 2018/2019 season.
That Tanzanian giants Yanga bought Balinya is testament to how highly he is rated. Government injects billions into Fufa to get youth interested in the sport and you cannot convince me that out of more than 500 UPL players, only four made the grade when the so-called professionals – a misused word – are playing in obscure lower level leagues.
Instead, I’m reliably informed how the final team selection was heavily influenced by football agents for particular players, thereby ending up with a squad lacking cohesion. You only need to look at the 2017 Afcon edition, in which a raw Muhammad Shaban was given a few minutes to showcase his talent and turned out to be Uganda’s biggest threat upfront.
Unfortunately, Ugandans are used to mediocrity and many will take comfort with whatever result the team comes back with.
Has anyone noticed how virtually the entire Fufa executive is in Cairo? Some even took along their families. That wouldn’t be a cause to worry until you look at the cost it has on our football. This is a spending spree opportunity to appease disgruntled members.
For instance, I’m reliably informed that each has bagged not less than $3,000 in per diem over the course of the tournament and when you factor in that more than $30,000 is going to be spent on people who add little-to-no value, you realise why mediocrity rules our sport.
The same federation that spends $30,000 on executives to live a high life will later claim to lack funds to promote grassroots football.
That figure alone is bigger than the total prize money for Uganda Premier League clubs. That money, along with the purported $300,000 spent on the Abu Dhabi Cranes camp, can be put to great use to make a significant impact on our football development.
On a sad note, Hon. Nakiwala Kiyingi who represents clubs at the FA in the last 3 years ever since she was voted by clubs, has never had time to meet clubs to discuss football business but has time to lead a FUFA delegation as assigned by Magogo. This then begs the question: has she gone as a cabinet Minister or a subject of Magogo? I don’t know who salutes the other!!!