By: Paul Mukatabala
(Former SC Villa & Uganda Cranes International)
I’m proud to have played football in an era where we players were held accountable for our performances in a match. And at a club like ‘my SC Villa,’ the late club Supremo, ‘Chief’ Patrick Kawooya(RIP) wasted no time in ripping through anyone of us, when he felt we were letting our standards drop.
When the FUFA President Moses Magogo says what many only know too well, that our CHAN team simply did not perform at the Cameroon tourney, then it’s shouts of, “oooh he’s disrespecting players.”
When the Nigerian FA President Amaju Pinnick lay into and read the ‘riot act’ to the Super Eagles in the dressing room on 13th November 2020, after they let a 4-0 lead melt away to draw 4-4 with Sierra Leone in an AFCON 2021 Qualifier, there was none of “the senior Super Eagles players have threatened to boycott the national team.” And, “none of the FA President is disrespecting his players.” Today Nigeria will be playing at next year’s AFCON Finals Tournament after the players raised their standards.
While for Uganda Cranes that’s now full of pettiness, self entitlement and a false imagination by some players that they’re actually doing Ugandans and the FA a favour when they turn up to play for the Uganda Cranes(with comments of “ate banakolaki, bajja kutwetaaga neera”), we will only be watching the Tournament from our tellies, come Jan/Feb next year.
Contrast that with Burkina Faso who while here to face Uganda in a decisive Qualifier game on 24th March 2021, were a picture of concentration, focus, unity and professionalism. Anyone who had a chance to see or interact with the Burkinabes at their Speke Resort Hotel in Munyonyo will understand only too well what I’m talking about.
While for Uganda, some players were instead, the next day after the goalless draw with Burkina Faso, putting pressure on the coach to allow them go out of camp to visit their families.
In the Malawi game of such enormous proportions, where was the urgency, the focus, the concentration, the tenacity and the desire to get a result at all costs??
The Writer is an a former national team player and current CEO of the Uganda Football Players’ Association.