Fufa’s choice of Egypt for Afcon qualifier is fishy
- Written by Ben Misagga
We live in trange times. It was announced a few weeks ago that the Ugandan national team will play its home Afcon qualification matches in Egypt after failing to meet the stadium requirements set by Caf.
There is hardly anything strange because we all know the state of Namboole stadium. St Mary’s stadium in Kitende, which has hosted a number of recent Cranes games, passed six of Caf’s seven required regulations but ‘failed’ the security test on grounds of the narrow roads leading to the stadium, which may threaten the safety of teams and fans, especially in case of an emergency or violence.
The twist is that the same officials that deemed the same stadium unsuitable for Cranes matches declared it fit for Vipers continental matches. How ironical!
In fact, Vipers held Moroccan Raja Casablanca to a one-all draw over the weekend. I have heard arguments that Caf has a stricter rulebook for national team matches but there is no such thing. What’s more, stadiums are assessed regularly and Vipers has been passing the tests, even when they change from time to time.
The real move behind the two parallel verdicts is that the hyenas at Fufa never put up a fight to avoid the unnecessary costs of travelling on top of missing the morale of home fans.
In fact, they actually applauded it with frivolous reasons such as ‘benchmarking the best football practices on the continent.’ It has been said that some officials who inspected the Kitende stadium were compromised to declare it unfit for national team matches.
So, Fufa knew well that taking the game away from Uganda will be a huge money heist of more than a billion shillings. After all, it is not Fufa to foot the bills, but government.
Even if I was to give Fufa a benefit of doubt, Zambia or South Africa would have been better countries to switch the match and besides, there are quite many Ugandans there who would have supported the team.
Unfortunately, that was never part of Fufa’s agenda. So, you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to know that a time when The Cranes are at an all-time low in terms of results and fan-following, holding the game at Kitende was never going to be a ‘good’ move for Fufa and it would have provided a lot of scrutiny from the football fraternity.
But taking it as far as Egypt provides them a chance to do as they wish, right from selecting whom to travel with the team and also bagging millions in form of per diem and other extras. You will find that people who never attend Cranes matches at home are the ones Fufa picked to cheer the team in Egypt.
My prayer is that The Cranes return with some pride but anything short of three points leave us exposed to the core.