By Alex Bossa
While addressing the media on 6th April, FUFA president Moses Magogo was at it again when he described the type of football displayed by the CHAN team as “shitty”. This was in response to Sulaiman Mutyaba’s claim that National team players were demanding their wages.
By the time the ex-international was beaten up and arrested the alarm bells were already ringing. Like a tempered bee hive, current senior national team players did not take this lightly.
One would argue that the likes of Hassan Wasswa, Denis Onyango and Mike Azira had reached their age of retirement but over time we have seen the likes of Gianluigi Buffon, Essam El – Hadary, Zlatan Ibrahimović and many more who have played for their national teams until their 40s.
The national team is a testament to the dictum “every success comes at an expense”. The 2019 AFCON convincing results may have come to play against the national team to the extent that the federation can no longer accept “shitty” football. Coach Sebastian Desabre had assembled a free attacking team but when Pyramids came in calling, there was no argument left. He deserved his move but the nation had lost its brand of playing in the process.
The federation’s miserly approach to spending landed the nation in deep waters at the time when the nation was looking at improving on the success attained in Egypt. The hiring of Irishman Jonathan McKinstry was a kick of a dying horse.
The routine wins in the CECAFA Senior Challenge cup was like sweeping the dirt under the mat. The cracks started to show as the team won the championship but with no brand of play. It was hard to tell whether the team was an attack team or defensive team.
Unlike his McKinstry’s predecessors, no one would predict the next team. Team tinkering became the order of the day with the federation taking control of calling up players for national duty. One would ask the question as to why the federation went ahead to hire McKinstry if they did not trust him with team selection. Did they hire a crown so that the “mafias” can get a commission from the coach’s position at the end of every month?
Football analysts over time have called for the nation to adopt an identical style of play right from the grassroots to club football but this has fallen on deaf ears. In fact, the federation has turned into a money-making machine forgetting it’s core values.
This year saw the U-20 team display free-flowing football at the AFCON U-20 championship in Mauritania while the CHAN team would barely come up with a style to be identified with.
For the team that has made CHAN a routine, one point from three matches sounds like a mockery given the fact that taxpayers money was spent for the Dubai trip which came with a lot of criticism. While the rest of the world was busy playing international football, the national team players were busy enjoying the sun in Dubai.
In the past, teams like South Sudan and Rwanda before playing the Cranes would look for tactics to prevent a cricket score from the Cranes. Recent fixtures show that that respect is long gone. In fact, the entire technical team should have resigned or been sacked after that double header against South Sudan where the Cranes put up embarrassing performances.
Without disrespecting South Sudan and Rwanda, these fixtures are meant to look like practice sessions for the national team as more business awaits against the heavy weights on the continent.
Now that the damage is done, let the federation go back to the drawing board to steady the ship. The garbage in garbage out concept should be put at the forefront by FUFA before shifting the blame game to those at the bottom of the football pyramid because in the end, you reap what you sow.