December 9, 2021

Is Juuko being forced into early retirement?

By Allan Damba
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Cranes defender Murushid Juuko (4) was shown marching orders against Mali at St Mary's Stadium Kitende during the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers / FUFA Image

Express FC defender Murushid Juuko’s national team career could come to an unprecedented end resulting from a financial penalty slapped by FIFA in a September 2021 match against Mali.

The experienced defender was red carded in the goalless draw at St Mary’s Stadium, Kitende after elbowing Mali forward Ibrahim Kone in the second half.

Along with the sending off which came with a two match ban, Juuko was later fined Swiss Francs 5,000 ($ 5414) which is an equivalent of UGX. 20m.

In an October 9th letter from FIFA that was sent through FUFA, the 27 year old had to pay the fine by November 9, something the player has failed to do.

Reports have since learnt that Juuko, tried to seek clarity about whether he would pay the fine from his account or get assistance but received no response from Mengo.

Other reports have since indicated that FUFA vowed not to pay for Juuko’s misdeeds, advising the latter to clear his own dues with the International Football governing body, FIFA.

In its bid to reach the ultimate truth surrounding the matter, Football256 engaged with National Teams coordinator Paul Mutakabala who emotionally retaliated.

“First research and understand how these kinds of sanctions work in international football. Then you will be in a better position to pass judgement.”

“You are already passing judgement and doing the blame game, which is typical of the Ugandan press,” he noted.

It is worth noting that the fine was directed towards the player and as per the rules, payment is entirely his mandate. However, given the fact that he committed the offence in the line of duty, it was expected FUFA would lend a hand.

With the deadline passed, Juuko now risks a heavier punishment or even ban off any FIFA sanctioned competitions. A situation of this nature would only induce early retirement.

A diligent servant, Juuko has been in the national team set-up for over ten years. In 2011 and 2012, he featured for the U20 team before representing the U23 side in 2013. A year later, he joined the senior team and has since garnered 39 competitive appearances.

He was also a key member of the team that featured in the 2017 AFCON in Gabon, almost 40 years since Uganda’s last appearance. Juuko and co repeated the feat two years later, this time, in Egypt.

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