The Uganda Cranes yesterday became the second team together with Zimbabwe to go on a sit-down strike and miss training over alleged unpaid allowances at the on-going 2019 Total Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Egypt.
The Nigerian team players recently also boycotted one of the mandatory press conferences over unpaid winning bonuses. Ahead of a crucial game against Africa’s best ranked team, Senegal on July 5 in the round of 16, Cranes players failed to show up at the Arab Contractors Stadium on Tuesday evening.
“Yes we decided as a group to keep out of training to send a big message across so that the leaders can pay us,” one of the senior players who did not want his name revealed told last night.
According to the Federation of Uganda Football Associations (FUFA) communications manager, Ahmed Hussein, the members of the contingent have all been paid what they are meant to get till end of June.
FUFA has made it clear that each player has so far been paid a total of $14,600 (about Shs 54 million) by July 2. The team reportedly received $4,000 (Shs 14.8 million) for their win against DR Congo and $2,000 (Shs 7.4 million) for the draw against Zimbabwe.
The players also received $5,100 (Shs 18.9 million) each for 34 days of camping till June 30th at a rate of $150 (Shs 556,000) per day, $420 (Shs 1.5 million) for the 14 days of camping in Uganda, together with $300 (Shs 1.1 million) for the international friendly against Ivory Coast played in Abu Dhabi.
However, the insider in the team told URN that the players want the FUFA to pay an outstanding debt of $10,000 (Shs 37 million) that they promised for qualification for 2019 AFCON. The players argue that the Shs 2 billion given by President Yoweri Museveni for the team to share after qualification is different from the one promised earlier by FUFA.
“It is true FUFA promised them $10,000 each for qualification. But we engaged the government through President Museveni and money was released which we used to pay them,” said another FUFA official.
However, another player told URN on Wednesday morning that they have been asked to return to training and reminded of the code of conduct document that each of them signed. It remains to be seen if the players will accept to training later on Wednesday evening or continue with the sit-down strike.
The media advisory released by the Confederation of African Football (CAF) doesn't include the Uganda Cranes as one of the teams scheduled for training today. Guinea is set to train at 17h00 at the El Sekka El Hadid Stadium , Algeria at 18h00 at the Petrosport Stadium and Senegal at 18h30 at the 30 June Stadium, Annex 3.
At the on-going tournament three teams Nigeria, Ivory Coast and Ghana all have a winning bonus of $10,000 (Shs 37 million) per game. Besides Uganda and Senegal, the other teams that have made it to the round of 16 include Egypt, South Africa, Madagascar, DR Congo, Nigeria, Cameroon, Algeria, Guinea, Morocco, Benin, Mali, Ivory Coast, Ghana and Tunisia.