The trendy thing in African football is for national teams to hire European coaches.
Uganda Cranes caught the bug in the early 2000s and have been managed by Hungarian Lazslo Csaba, Scotsman Bobby Williamson and, until the other Friday, Serbian Micho Sredojevic.
Soon Fufa will roll out a process that will culminate in the recruitment of another coach of the Uganda Cranes. In all probability he too shall be a Mzungu.
The case for or against a foreign coach is as divisive as the one for or against technology in the game.
Each side has strong views. And equally either side believes their case should be a no-brainer.
Fufa this week entrusted Uganda’s upcoming qualifiers in the hands of Moses Basena and Fred Kajoba, which was after all the only logical thing to do. Having served under Micho, it would have been an affront to overlook the pair for Cranes’ upcoming matches.
For so long, European coaches have been employed on the African continent to a point that a team with a black coach in the dugout looked an exception and not the rule. Today countries like Egypt, Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Gabon, Cameroon and Algeria employ Europeans to manage their teams. European coaches come with significantly high wages and there is naturally a load of expectation they will carry.
But today we do not have a Mzungu on the Cranes touchline and for this reason we must do what it takes to back Basena and Kajoba. As fashionable as it is, hiring a foreigner to coach a national team should not be a nice thing for a patriot.
And we shouldn’t do it because the rest of the continent is doing it. Basena has been in the national team set-up for so long that now he must command the respect of the players who listened to Micho.
In fact if I was a player, I would be enthused that my national team coach is a Ugandan.
Of course Fufa will not hire a Ugandan as Micho’s successor but the discussion today must involve a time-line when Cranes will be in the hands of a citizen. This is no attack on Micho Sredojevic but I bet he wouldn’t be amused were Serbia to hire a Cameroonian.
Aliou Cisse, a native of the country, has done a magnificent job as coach of Senegal to remind the continent that you do not have to have a European to revolutionise your game. In 2013, Stephen ‘Big Boss’ Keshi (RIP) embarked on a mission to excel at the Africa Nations Cup in Nigeria a squad of largely young kids. The rest is history as they say. Admittedly Uganda is neither Senegal nor Nigeria and the country must do a tremendous amount of grassroots work.
Meanwhile for as long as Basena is handling the team, a large number of fans will continue querying his competence for the job.
The Basena I know will plug his ears and continue with his business, as if not slighted. As a football-mad country, let us all throw our weight behind the interim replacements. We must not be swallowed by the bug that has afflicted most editorial work stations.
Over to you Basena.
Today the 92nd Fufa assembly will be held in Masindi where Moses Magogo is expected to return unopposed as president of the federation for the next years.
In the last four years, Magogo has overseen a significant increase in the number of young or aspiring coaches doing their badges.
He has turned the Fufa House in Mengo from a somewhat derelict building to a fully-fledged office with employees.
There remains work ahead but anyone who views that past four years of the federation as having taken back the game operates in a different solar system.