The president of the Federation of Uganda Football Associations (FUFA) has revealed the behind the scenes drama that has been going on in the past few days as the Uganda Cranes tried to reach Praia for the opening AFCON 2019 qualifier against Cape Verde.
In a post on his personal Facebook profile, Moses Magogo described the challenges Uganda’s national team faced. Here it is a with a few minor edits.
Dear fellow Countrymen,
The full contingent of 31 persons has finally made it to Cape Verde Capital Praia. Arrived at Stadium at 4.15pm and finally hotel at 4.40pm (Kick off time was 4.30pm)
Going to Cape Verde continues to be a challenge to teams from Africa mainland. It is not once or twice that teams arrive hours before kick off. Normally teams charter flights to be able to get here but as we all know, chartering is not [in] our league as FUFA.
The only flights which connect Africa Mainland and Cape Verde is the Airline of Cape Verde that comes 3 times to Dakar a week. We planned and booked early for 31pax on this flight to arrive on 8th June 2017, 2 days before match.
We were only told on 7th June that only 8 persons could travel with a list chosen by the Airline that we could not change. And the rest to arrive 6am on 10th June (match day). We did not have options we obliged. It is just a 45 minutes flight anyway. When the first batch travelled the flight was half empty. We later almost failed to get a place for one player Karisa who was a late inclusion by the coach from the friendlies performance despite needing to just replace a name of a dropped player. We paid 3times the cost and still we travelled the flight was half empty.
There was an official communication in writing from the Airline that there is a technical fault with the aircraft. Meanwhile word at Dakar airport was that you guys [Uganda Cranes contingent] have to only arrive at match time. It looked like a usual plan by the hosts.
We seized this opportunity to ask CAF to postpone the game as the players had not had a real meal and had not rested since 2am and only arrived at kick-off.
It is therefore nothing like poor planning but the connection between the Airline and Federation seemed planned. We managed to state our case and the game was postponed to allow last training and proper rest for the players yet not losing our return itinerary
Let us just pray that these issues do not psychologically erode the players and we get the best of performance from the boys. Every one is now set to go.
We don’t have to find excuses and blames but pray for the best.
It is Our Game, It is Our Country