28 March 2013

Uganda: How Cranes Can Move On

The Cranes were back in town on Tuesday night. And in real professional fashion, the coach, Bobby Williamson, was on hand for the weekly Fufa press conference at Fufa House, Mengo on Wednesday morning.

While there, he gave his view of things regarding his team's 0-2 loss to Liberia last Sunday in a 2014 World Cup qualifier. For example, he said that just as Cranes is able to beat opponents at Namboole stadium, so is it easier for other teams to win when they are playing at home. Williamson was inevitably trying to put into perspective Cranes' recent failure, and hopefully make those calling for his head to be logical and calm down.

Against that, he added that Cranes will be able to win its remaining games, especially the two at home and maybe qualify for the World Cup. But that will have to be prepared for. First and foremost, by the time Cranes travelled to Liberia, the team was shrouded in controversy regarding the fitness levels particularly of the foreign-based players. A closer scrutiny of his players is the least Williamson can do to avoid the embarrassment that Tonny Mawejje situation caused him.

You see, it had to take the player (Mawejje) to tell Williamson that it was wrong to summon him to The Cranes, yet he hadn't been active as a footballer since the beginning of this year. It doesn't need much for Williamson to liaise with Fufa and get contacts of all Cranes players wherever they play so that there is a constant update on their status.

Ibrahim Buwembo, a former Cranes player, has been involved in the business of helping Ugandan footballers find clubs in Vietnam. He told The Observer that finding out about Ugandan players in Vietnam just takes a call and all their statistics would come flowing in. "There is a person in Vietnam that I liaise with daily for updates on all Ugandan players in Vietnam.

The fact that Fufa's technical committee can't do that is a big disappointment and they need to be checked or sacked."

That said, Sam Ssimbwa, Cranes former assistant coach, says: "Let us also relax this obsession for foreign-based players. We must have a Cranes squad of local-based players that Williamson works with a few times in a week, so that they

Of course, Ssimbwa's views resonate with having a strong domestic league. But that won't happen if two leagues continue in the country. The competitiveness is watered down with two leagues since the players aren't even certain of what the future holds. In addition, Fufa's decision to ostracise players in the Uganda Super League (USL) for only those in the Fufa Super League (FSL) doesn't help. Fufa insistence that such a decision was taken on the back of not recognising the USL is double-standards.

Remember that a number of Cranes players have emerged from Masaza or Bika football tournaments whose existence isn't sanctioned by Fufa. More still, Cranes lead striker Geoffrey Massa also plays in a non-Fifa-recognised league in Cyprus.

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