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It’s D-day for The Cranes at Afcon

In the recent history of Ugandan football, I don’t remember a time when the national team set out to compete without any financial worries.

Thanks to government’s resolute effort to leave no stone unturned, The Cranes are at peace in Cairo as they await the mouth-watering knockout tie against Senegal. I have said it before that Uganda’s Afcon credentials start with the last-16 knockout tie which is technically the benchmark of progress, stability or stagnation.


Should Uganda forge its way past the imposing Lions of Teranga, it would be a vindication for coach Sebastian Desabre and his players, who are doing their best to dispel critics. However, their form trajectory doesn’t offer much assurance, especially when you consider that Uganda started with a win, draw and loss.

Matters have not been helped by the fact that we started the tournament by scoring three goals and ended the group stage by conceding three. In other words, we cannot afford to descend any further against Senegal.

And that should start with realigning the first team to play to our biggest strengths. For instance, Desabre is still unsure of the best defensive and striking partnerships. We cannot afford to experiment at this stage against a team that has an advantage in experience, height and physicality.

Speed and precision should be our only edge if we are to convert the chances.


Meanwhile, it is regrettable that matters off the pitch continue to cloud the team’s good run in the tournament. Some may already be aware of how Fufa officials struggling to sell Uganda’s allotted tickets for matches to fans yet the people who would have greatly benefitted the nation with their presence in Egypt are sitting at home.

These are the seasoned coaches such as Asaph Mwebaze, Jackson Mayanja, Sam Ssimbwa and Morley Byekwaso, to name a few.

These coaches would have picked out vital technical lessons at the tournament but they were overlooked and instead, their places were taken by friends and family members of top officials.

The presence of these coaches would have greatly built our coaching capacity, especially when you consider that Desabre could easily jump ship should a better opportunity arise. We have been in these situations before where The Cranes help elevate the profile of a European coach and he runs away without grooming locals with the technical expertise.

Then we go back into the market to shop for another European yet we have a chance to build our own.


The author is Nyamityobora FC president.

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