Uganda Cranes during the playing of the national anthem before the match against Mali | Credit: John Batanudde

Last week, Uganda Cranes produced one of the dullest displays in the goalless draw with Mali at St Mary’s stadium, Kitende.

No player stood out as they spent most of the match running around with square passes that had no purpose.

I felt pity for Cranes coach Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojevic because he has re-inherited a team that has little quality and no direction.

On paper, Uganda has one of the youngest teams and one would question why I am very critical of them when they are still developing.

In reality, our team is not young and most of the players’ careers are on a downhill. The recent retirement of Dennis Onyango would have been followed by a complete overhaul but instead, Fufa always wants to milk every drop of success from players before seeing them off.

In March, the national Under-20 team defied odds to reach the continental final but six months later, no single player from that team can even make The Cranes bench. This is the first indictment that either they aren’t good enough or that Fufa is holding out to win at all costs by using experience over talent.

Emmanuel Okwi in action against Mali | Credit: John Batanudde

For one, current Cranes skipper Emmanuel Okwi has done great for the team over the years but at the moment it is evident his age and fitness are exposing him as a liability.

The major reason why he and several other ‘seniors’ are still on the team is down to the poor quality of domestic football.

Moses Magogo purposely killed the league to market The Cranes. The once fierce league competition is no more because Magogo purged all football investors in order to have around yes men.

He created ill-advised promos like Cranes Na Mutima and Drum tournament in the middle of the national league. Meanwhile, players too are used as pawns for Fufa politics and titles are won depending on how teams are close to the powers that be at Fufa.

We also live in an era where match-fixing is rife but Fufa will never do anything.

A few days ago, I spoke to a top official of Tanzanian giants Azam FC who intimated that they used to enjoy the pre-season with friendlies against Ugandan teams but recently shifted to Zambia because there is no quality here.

Farouk Miya | Credit: Edgar Hamala

Fine, Uganda may have qualified for Afcon in recent years but where are the players who were supposed to be at their peak? Farouk Miya has since been discarded while Abdu Lumala is disillusioned. There is no player who has picked up from Afcon experience, which goes on to show they cheated their ages. 

What many fans may not know is that today, players’ agents pull the strings behind the scenes on who should be on the national team.

Amidst all this, one wonders where the people that groomed Magid Musisi, Sam Ssimbwa, Ibra Sekagya, David Obua, and many more disappeared.

They actually didn’t disappear but a system created by Magogo and his cronies forced them to take a step back.

Immanuel Ben Misagga is a former SC Villa president

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  1. “In March, the national Under-20 team defied odds to reach the continental final but six months later, no single player from that team can even make The Cranes bench”
    Olimba! (Bobosi, basangwa,,Kizito and Aziz) are in setup infact Bobsosi featured

  2. It may be true we have lots of soccer management issues, But this time round i can say the covid outbreak has done a lot of havok too. In the past Uganda has managed to patch-up local players and they have done well. today the league has been off for some time and foreign guys too affected in the respective leagues. It is evident even the other countries we play with are not any better. .Team mali drawing with our bulk of local players with almost no league action is one to ponder.

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