The unveiling of Paul Put, 67, as Uganda Cranes coach last week happened right in time for the beginning of the 2026 Fifa World Cup qualifiers.
Uganda play Guinea on November 17 and Somalia on November 21 at Stade Municipal de Berkane in Morocco. However, Put’s two-year contract as Cranes tactician ends at exactly the same time when the group matches for World Cup qualification conclude.
That is only indicative of the deliverables that Moses Magogo, the Fufa president, has set aside for him. Put arrived when Uganda is grappling with a playing style and philosophy. As head coach,he will probably have a say on what works best for Uganda depending on the players he sees even though he professed: “I am a coach who wants to play attacking football, and that is exactly what I intend to impart in The Cranes.”
That should be music to the ears of many a Ugandan fan, who has decried Cranes football style, that lacked entertainment. Perhaps, picking more expressive and effective players to that effect is what Put will do. But it must result in goals being scored.
Scoring goals has proved a problem for The Cranes in the last two qualification campaigns: The 2018 World Cup qualifiers saw Cranes score only thrice in six games while the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers only produced five goals in six games. Essentially,Put has his work cut out to make Cranes an efficient team in front of goal.
It is not clear how he will execute it, when the players he has to work with do not score freely at their clubs. But since Put is probably the most high-profile coach Fufa has hired in recent years, as he led Burkina Faso to the silver medal at the 2013 Afcon, he has the know-how to help players improve, too.
And without a doubt, he has a rich resume, having coached in European club competitions, and at high-level African clubs like USM Algiers in Algeria. So, can he ‘PUT’ his foot down and have the desired effect on Cranes?