Eyebrows were raised when Uganda Cranes head coach Sebastien Desabre told the media that he had been stopped from naming a player onto the team for disciplinary reasons.
Indeed, it is true that the Fufa executive takes a final decision on disciplinary matters concerning persons and teams representing the country at various levels. Opinion experts created discussions on different football platforms as to how the top brass of Fufa could have interfered with the coach’s job.
No one interfered with the coach’s job but it was a matter of understanding and accepting that some areas are beyond either the tactician or the Fufa executive.
For instance, the Fufa executive would never ask a coach of any national team to include players in various squads for international engagements. It is a no-go area for the Fufa executive. It is purely the work of the head coach to summon players.
The head coach independently makes the final call of which players to call for national team duty and he submits the list of invited players to the national teams’ officer at Fufa for the attention of the Fufa chief executive officer who later issues invitation letters to the players and their respective clubs in accordance with Fifa regulations.
At all these levels, honesty is important as players must be able to reveal their commitment to the institution in terms of availability and health-wise (not reporting for national team duty with concealed injuries). Issues to do with code of conduct, which is a key component when summoning players to the national team, are a reserve of the Fufa executive.
The biggest bonding factor on the Cranes team over the years has been discipline which cuts across team officials, players and support staff. Every member of the Cranes or any national team contingent is briefed on the dos and don’ts while on duty.
Technical matters of the national team are left to the head coach to handle and that includes summoning players who must meet the standards which will always include high levels of discipline. The Uganda Cranes is the biggest sports brand in Uganda and must be protected jealously. The bigger the brand, the more need for its protection.
In order to maintain and grow the pride and brand of the national football teams and achieve the objectives of Fufa, its members and that of the entire public, Fufa formulated a National Teams’ Manual to standardise the operations, the discipline, obligations and rights of the members on and off the pitch.
It is obligatory for any member of the national team set-up that at any given time he or she is aware as a member of Uganda national football team that he is supposed to be a role model and positive example to the millions of football supporters no matter whether he is on official duty or wherever he is recognised as a member of the national team.
Any behaviour that is out of order for a normal human is recognised as misconduct. In no particular order, the following measures will be used as corrective action for the members of the national team if found misbehaving; verbal warning, written warning, fines, written apology, suspension from team for a number of matches, suspension from the team for a period, exclusion from the team and expulsion from the team.
Gross misconduct may mean theft, physical assault, acts of discrimination, insubordination to authorities, abusive language, actions that put the game into disrepute, dis- closure of team technical plans, strategies, line-ups and tactics to non-members without authority of the head coach.
With the Uganda Cranes heading to the Afcon finals in Egypt next month, all players and officials on the Uganda Cranes contingent will be required to sign a code of conduct. Talent alone can’t keep you on the national team. All players need to go an extra mile to cause discipline.
It is Our Game, It is Our Country.
The author is Fufa communications manager.