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Here’s why we continue to have flawed geniuses

Uganda was humbled 4-0 by Comoros

Uganda was humbled 4-0 by Comoros

Last week provided an interest- ing case of contrasting fortunes for Ugandan football. As the Under-20 won silver at the African games, the senior side, The Cranes, was getting hammered by lowly Comoros 0-4.

Meanwhile, Allan Okello, one of Uganda’s best prospects in generations, was playing in the Drum tournament final for Lango. This is a classic case of the good, the bad and the ugly. The good is that basing on their Africa Games run that included wins of Nigeria and Senegal, Morley Byekwaso’s Under-20 fledglings can grow into a formidable Cranes side.

As I mentioned a number of times in this space, there is no justification of holding the youngsters back when we have an ageing senior squad whose only claim to be in the side is patronage to the Fufa bosses.

In fact, we just witnessed over the weekend how the daring Brazilians fielded a 17-year-old Endrik in a high-stakes friendly against England.

Seeing how the little genius was unfazed at Wembley was amazing and his winning goal further lays credence that in football, you don’t need much experience to shine.

So, as Uganda continues to build a squad for Afcon 2027, we need to seriously overhaul the team and build an Afcon-inspired side. Anything short will be an embarrassment at the tournament and going by the senior side’s performance against Comoros, I fear for the worst.

Someone part of that Cranes contingent intimated to me that as many as seven players in that squad were smuggled in behind coach Paul Put’s back. The Belgian was left with no option but to simply use the players at his disposal but this is very risky for him because very soon, he may be sacked for poor results.

Put ought to remember that football, regardless of whether it is a friendly game, is about results, not playing to the tune of the master. That’s why teams used to fight for Jose Mourinho, even when they knew how dull his style is.

One player who could save Put’s job is Okello. He may have endured his highs and lows but Okello remains a special player that can drive The Cranes to success.

Therefore, it baffled me that someone who would be an assured starter for The Cranes at this stage was playing in the Drum tournament. Given his rapid projection a few years ago at KCCA, one would have expected Okello to be plying his trade in Europe.

Does Fufa realize that in letting him play in this meaningless tournament is akin to laying red carpet for the latest player to be dubbed ‘flawed genius?’

In fact, it should be in Fufa’s interest to see that Okello gets as much playtime for The Cranes to build his confidence and focus. Not only that the Drum lowers his self esteem but it also greatly devalues his worth.  Drum can only serve its purpose best if it is strictly for youngsters and players that play their game for the respective regions.

The author is SC Villa president emeritus

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