4 November 2012

Uganda/Tanzania: Nations Cup Curse On Fufa Bosses


Following Uganda's failure to qualify for the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations, Fufa president Lawrence Mulindwa has come under pressure to step down so far, he has not yielded to pressure.

However, his predecessors weren't so lucky as history shows.

Gerald Sendaula:

After the fall of Idi Amin's government in 1979, Gerald Sendaula succeeded Mohammad Seruwagi as Fufa boss. An active officer in Amin's army, Seruwagi had fled to exile. Sendaula also won the approval of newly-appointed sports minister Prof Dan Wadada Nabudere but that partnership didn't last long.

When The Cranes posted poor results in the 1979 Cecafa Cup in Nairobi, Nabudere suspended Uganda from all forms of international football. At the time, Sendaula had also joined politics. In 1980, Stephen Waibale took over the Fufa reins in interim capacity even though the federation had no activity beyond domestic competitions.

Peter Abe:

In 1981, pressure from several football administrators forced sports line minister Dr James Rwanyarare to make arrangements for an elective Fufa administration. The elections brought into office veteran sports administrator Peter Abe.

Uganda started well eliminating Tanzania from the 1984 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers and many thought the country had turned around a hard corner. However, it turned out to be a false dawn as a shock Cecafa Cup final defeat to Kenya gave Rwanyarare no option but to fire Abe and his entire executive.

Caleb Babihuga:

Abe's executive didn't lie down easily and petitioned Fifa's intervention with little success. That, however, didn't sway Rwanyarare, who appointed National Council of Sports (NCS) vice chairman Caleb Babihuga to take over.

Babihuga's team had fresh faces in Bob Kasule, Katamba Lugyo, Willy Mukama and Wagonda Muguli. Still, they didn't live up to the expectations as The Cranes got eliminated by minnows Madagascar in April 1983.

This bitterly strained Fufa's relationship with fans - given the unceremonious way Babihuga took over office. Not even Uganda's 4-1 victory over Algeria in the 1984 Olympic qualifiers saved Babihuga's head.

Rwabona Kagurusi:

In January 1984, Rwanyarare appointed Masette Kuya new National Council of Sports chairman. At the time, Kuya was also the Minister of Rehabilitation and his immediately task was to dissolve Babihuga's executive. Instead, he turned to Bushenyi MP Rwabona Kagurusi.

A star footballer for Lint FC during his playing days, Kagurusi spent much of the time solving club wars. Matters were not helped when Tanzania dumped Uganda from the 1986 Nations Cup qualifiers

Weeks later, Zambia got the better of The Cranes in the 1986 World Cup qualifiers. Kagurusi was left with a few friends and it was clear his days were numbered.

Barnabas Byabazaire:

After the overthrow of Dr Milton Obote's government in 1985, Bidandi Ssali was appointed Culture and Community Development Minister. The appointment thrilled football lovers because Bidandi had been there, done that and seen it all in Ugandan football.

'Mister,' as he is popularly known, instantly set about to clean the sport by dissolving the Fufa executive and appointed longtime football administrator Chris Rwanika as new head. A few months down the road, Bidandi was transferred and his successor Stanislaus Okurut sacked Rwanika.

In turn, he appointed Commissioner General of Prisons Barnabas Byabazaire to head the new Fufa executive in 1986. However, the 3-6 aggregate elimination at the hands of Cameroon in the 1988 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers, quickly followed by a 0-5 drubbing by Zambia in a 1988 Olympic qualifier blotted Byabazaire's Fufa.

Katamba Lugyo:

In 1988, the new line minister Edward Kakonge replaced Byabazaire with Internal Affairs Permanent Secretary Paul Katamba Lugyo. By that time, Uganda had pulled out of the qualifiers for the 1990 Africa Cup of Nations and World Cup.

In that case, Katamba simply had to prove himself at the 1988 Cecafa Cup. Still, The Cranes miserably flopped, leaving many to call for a complete overhaul of Fufa.

John Baptist Semanobe:

Without any success from handpicked Fufa bosses, ex-internationals convinced the minister to have elected Fufa executives. The April 1989 polls brought in office former Cranes attacker John Semanobe.

Under him, The Cranes won the 1989 Cecafa Cup after 12-years. But Uganda's failure to qualify for the 1992 and 1994 Africa Cup of Nations was part of the problem that saw Semanobe's Fufa being dissolved twice by NCS and Education and Sports minister Amanya Mushega.

Gen Moses Ali:

His election into office in 1994 was welcomed by the football fraternity due to the fact that he was sports line minister in 1989. So, he enjoyed his first few months in office until when Uganda posted poor results during the 1996 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers. Besides, Fifa had given him only one year in office to normalize the administration.

Twaha Kakaire:

Kakaire took over in July 1995 but his late registration of Uganda for the 1998 Africa Cup of Nations qualification campaign nearly cost him the position but he survived when Caf accepted Uganda's last minute entry.

Still, The Cranes endured a disastrous spell; quickly bowing out of the Nations Cup and World Cup qualifiers. Another group of ex-internationals led by Denis Obua accused Kakaire of lacking capacity to return the team to the Nations Cup and successfully fought him from within.

Denis Obua:

He defeated Kakaire in the December 1998 elections promising to take Uganda back to Africa Cup of Nations. However, 'Mr Football' failed to keep the promise when Uganda finished bottom in the Nations Cup qualification groups in 2000 and 2002 as well as the 2002 World Cup campaign.

His third attempt for the 2004 Nations Cup also backfired when Rwanda defeated Cranes at Namboole in 2003 but the former Cranes winger defied all odds to hung on in office.

He brought down curtains on his leadership when Uganda started the 2006 Nations Cup and World Cup qualifiers poorly. In February 2005, the Education and Sports minister Namirembe Bitamazire dissolved Obua's executive.

Lawrence Mulindwa:

Mulindwa took over at a time Ugandan football was at a crossroads. He straightaway promised to take Uganda to both Africa Cup of Nations and World Cup. However, his failure to see Uganda qualify for the 2008, 2010, 2012 and 2013 has piled immense pressure on him to step aside.

He still has support from a section of fans who think he has done well, especially with the team's welfare. This is also boosted by the backing of sports minister Charles Bakkabulindi and FIFA.

But his critics don't want to listen to that; they want him out by either hook or crook. Only time will tell.

The author is Director Marketing & Promotions of The Observer Media Ltd.

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