The Observer (Kampala)

14 November 2012

Uganda/Kenya: Cranes Turn Professional

Forget the mediocre lifestyle of The Cranes; the team is set for a massive makeover that will surely bring prestigiousness in donning the national team colours, writes Moses Mugalu.

Local football body Fufa and the recently formed Uganda Cranes Initiative (UCI) are set to announce attractive packages for national team players who start preparations for the Cecafa tournament this weekend. With the help of UCI, a platform born out of concerned fans' desire to help The Cranes to prosper, Fufa will this morning unveil new improved allowance rates for players and officials on the national soccer team.

During a joint press briefing, starting 10am at the plush Rivonia Suites in Mbuya, the football authorities will also reveal The Cranes' new camping hotel and a host of other incentives for the players. According to an insider on UCI's planning committee, the new hotel has 'first class' facilities including a modern gym and The Cranes' players will not be going to Kabira Country Club for gym sessions like they have been doing in the past.

Most of the allowances, The Observer understands have been doubled in the proposed budget that UCI is due to present to FUFA this morning. Previously, each player has been getting shs 10,000 as daily training allowance and home upkeep of 50,000 per day while in residential camp. Both figures will be revised upwards once the players enter camp this Saturday.

UCI has already secured cartoons of drinking water, laundry services, special medical experts and extra training kit for the players coaching staff. According to their earlier plan, UCI will make a grand fundraising launch this Saturday, November 17 with The Cranes holding an open training for the fans at KCC Lugogo grounds. Today, FUFA and UCI are expected to disclose the budget for CECAFA tournament that kick off November 24 in Kampala.

The Cranes are grouped with Ethiopia, Kenya and newcomers, South Sudan, in the preliminary stage. After narrowly missing out on a place in next year's Nations Cup finals due in South Africa, The Cranes' coach Bobby Williamson wants to use this regional tourney to test his youngsters ahead of the 2014 World Cup qualifiers against Liberia, Angola and Senegal.

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