By Immanuel Ben Misagga
Last week, The 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 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.
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 tournaments 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.
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.