Uganda Cranes is considering withdrawing from next year's African Nations Championship (Chan) due to lack of funds, the Federation of Uganda Football Association (Fufa) has said.
Uganda qualified for the TotalEnergies-sponsored tournament after defeating Tanzania's Taifa Stars in the return match at St. Mary's stadium in Kitende in September this year.
Uganda was placed in Group B alongside Africa's powerhouses Senegal, Ivory Coast, and DR Congo following draws conducted in October in Algeria. The tournament was originally set for July 10 to August 1, 2022, in Algeria but the Confederation of African Football (Caf) moved it to January 2023 because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Fufa president, Moses Magogo tweeted today Monday morning, saying that they are left with no decision but to withdraw the team due to the lack of funds.
Magogo's warning comes barely two months after Fufa took a bold decision to withdraw the U23 team (Uganda Kobs) from the 2023 African Cup of Nations qualifiers over the same issue. FUFA takes the lion’s share of the sports budget.
At least Shs 17 billion out of the Shs 47.8 billion was ring-fenced for Fufa - with Shs 5 billion specifically going for women’s football development. While appearing before parliament’s select committee inquiring into the operations of the National Council of Sports last week, Magogo said that as of Thursday, December 8, 2022, FUFA had only received Shs 2.878 billion in two installments.
He said that they first received Shs 400 million on August 29, 2022, and another Shs 2.478 billion on October 28, 2022, in regards to the financial year 2022/2023 budget. Between July and October, several national football teams including Sand Cranes, Crested Cranes, Uganda Cranes, and Uganda Cubs among others have engaged in international competitions, which Magogo earlier said left them with many debts.
Uganda was set to take part in the continental showpiece for the sixth time in a row, having appeared at the previous five editions of 2011, 2014, 2016, 2018, and 2020. But, Uganda Cranes failed to impress in the last editions of the championship. In the last edition, Uganda exited with only one point after suffering a 5-2 defeat to Morocco in the last Group C match. Previously, the team drew with Rwanda and lost to Togo respectively in the first two group games.
The Chan tournament is played between the best national teams of Africa exclusively featuring players who are active in the national championships and qualified to play in the ongoing season.