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Let’s hope nepotism is not exported to the field

Shafik Magogo, the son of Fufa president Moses Magogo

Shafik Magogo, the son of Fufa president Moses Magogo

When Morley Byekwaso, the National Under-20 coach, named his squad for the ongoing Dire Cup in Ethiopia, I noticed the conspicuous inclusion of Shafik Magogo, the son of Fufa president Moses Magogo.

I know Magogo is a shrewd, power-hungry individual who runs the federation like his home. So many things ran through my mind: does he merit a place on the team after only two league appearances for Kitara FC?

Was Byekwaso coerced to include the youngster? Is he being fast-tracked? Is he simply a tourist on the team? Is it a case of nepotism flying from the Fufa boardroom to the field?

Honestly, I have never watched Shafik play, but those who have watched him say he is very talented. In fact, they allude to the fact that he will never get his due credit because his dad is the Fufa president.

For the record, I am not even targeting Magogo because there are other youngsters on the team with prominent fathers. These include Alfa Ssali, the son of Bebe Cool and George Isiagi, the son of Patrick Isiagi. I have seen clips of these two players, and I can attest they meet the squad criteria and deserve to be fast-tracked.

So, I wish to grant Shafik all the benefit of doubt in the hope he earned his place on the team on merit. In fact, Uganda should be anchoring its 2027 Afcon prospects on the current Under-20 squad. The youngsters will be at least 23 years old in 2027, the ripe age for players to perform on the big stage.

I have noted that, over the years, most of the players who feature for the underage teams don’t make it to the senior team. This is mostly so because they lack the hunger and guidance to compete at the highest level. Matters are not helped by the fact that their parents or minders don’t want to see them follow football as a career.

It is here that Kampala Kids League (KKL) comes to mind. Remember Trevor Dudley’s KKL? It was the toast of Uganda and won several international underage competitions, including those involving Lionel Messi.

However, KKL youngsters were never anchored to succeed in football, and virtually all of them dropped out by the time they reached 18 years old. So, for the record, it is mostly the B-level players who grind their way with grit into the senior team.

In all this, I am imploring Fufa to utilize the current Under-20 as the future of Ugandan football as well as the springboard to showcase Uganda’s football potential come Afcon 2027. I really hope the underage team is not used as a measure of helping sum- moned players gain scholarships to colleges and universities, as has been the case in the recent past.

The author is SC Villa president emeritus

Comments

0 #1 simon Ejom 2024-03-04 12:49
Your very wright the same thing happened in rugby one time. the son of a minister was included in the under 19 to play for Uganda.
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