One of the most glaring experiences about Uganda is that it is a conduit for foreign upstarts on their journey into football.
This has been more evident since the turn of the millennium whereby a white skin is treated as superior regardless of the qualification, track record or experience. The likes of Csaba Laszlo, Bobby Williamson and the most recent Sebastien Desabre got their conventional coaching initiation with The Cranes.
Even Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojevic’s African breakthrough was with SC Villa in 2002. Tellingly, these coaches spend a great deal of time looking for jobs elsewhere even as they go about their roles with the national team. That’s why they vanish in thin air when a better-paying opportunity knocks on the door.
I personally cannot blame them, especially when you consider the relatively low wages Uganda affords; but it is their lack of continuity that bothers me because we always start afresh when they leave.
That’s why in the wake of Desabre’s departure, Fufa’s decision to overhaul The Cranes bench leaves quite many unanswered questions; did the Frenchman catch them unawares? What is the fate of Matia Lule, who was Desabre’s assistant? Is Abdallah Mubiru an interim or acting Cranes coach? And what is Fufa’s exact roadmap?
One thing that is clear in all this is that local coaches are not yet empowered to lead the national team. Senegal coach Aliou Cisse said so a few days back about how his own Senegalese FA despised his capabilities in preference of a white skin and was only given the job as a stopgap after failing to land their preferred choice.
Under Micho, his assistant Moses Basena attended several coaching courses but was quickly cast away the moment the Serbian left and to this day, he remains on the periphery. So, my simple prayer is for Fufa to either believe in local coaches or go for someone who can empower them.
Burkhard Pape left a bevy of capable coaches David Otti, Robert Kiberu, Peter Okee, Jimmy Bakyayita Semugabi and Bidandi Ssali, among others. To Pape, it wasn’t about just tactics but handling of egos too. So, if Fufa is to get another foreign coach, let it be someone willing to settle with us, not the overzealous ones who feel as though they are doing us a favour.
And now that government took over the paying of the national coach, there is little to worry about affording a top coach.
Magoola just a symptom of Fufa’s disease
I read with shock on social media how Fufa summoned Cranes goalie Jamal Salim Magoola to explain himself for putting the game into disrepute.
Magoola’s ‘crime’ is defending himself from accusations by MP Odonga Otto after the legislator questioned his patriotism and accused him of being a ringleader of The Cranes strike while in Egypt.
In doing so, Fufa is escalating an already fragile relationship with The Cranes players. I expected an inquiry into the whole strike but Fufa has conspicuously swept that dirt under the carpet instead of cleaning up its house.
The author is The Observer operations director.