In Summary

Many pay disputes. The culture of pay disputes is engrained in our sports federations and public life. Corruption, maladministration, lack of transparency and accountability are our defining features. Football is littered with pay disputes, match fixing scandals, bribing of officials, swindling of gate collections, lack of ideal training pitches and lack of professionalism that leads to poor team selection.

Senegal’s Lions of Teranga superstar Sadio Mane’s goal scored in the 15th minute meant that Uganda Cranes became the 15th team to bow out of the 2019 Afcon 2019 tournament. The Cranes are commended for the fight although their petulant boycott of training due to unpaid bonuses when it mattered most against very experienced opponents created a messy scene in the camp and affected their preparations.

This sparked off mixed reactions from the fans and affected the way they approached the game.
Regrettable as it was, neither the Federation of Uganda Football Association (Fufa) nor government was quick to cast the blame, but were obviously strained by the awkward pandemonium in Cairo.

Perversely, part of the problem lay in our weak institutions and systems set up, which make respect for contractual, legal and moral obligations susceptible. The Cranes squad mainly composed of foreign based-players, earning quite a fortune compared to local-based ones, who did not believe Fufa’s commitment to the promise of remitting bonuses at the knockout stage.

The miasma of mistrust makes our challenges more deeper than mere representations and appearances at the international stage. We must build our own microcosm of trust with the players, sponsors and fans.

Where we failed, nations that only scrapped through as third-based losers such as Benin, South Africa and debutants Magadascar facing much tougher opponents stepped up their game and won insumountable encounters against Morocco, hosts Egypt and DR Congo. They are into more money brackets for the longevity in the tournament and getting more visibility for their players and the country.

Whereas the Cranes players earn their livelihood from football, claiming their bonuses at that critical hour tainted the image of our country. But before we admonish the boys, and throw all this venom at Fufa, we need to put their agony in context and even understand why the team coach Sebastian Desabre has opted out.

The culture of pay disputes is engrained in our sports federations and public life. Corruption, maladministration, lack of transparency and accountability are our defining features. Football is littered with pay disputes, match fixing scandals, bribing of officials, swindling of gate collections, lack of ideal training pitches and lack of professionalism that leads to poor team selection.

Paradoxically, the She Cranes just left for the Netball World Cup due for July 12-21 in Liverpool without their daily allowances of Shs30,000 for more than a month and were demanding their $8,000 (Shs29.6m).

Members of Parliament are perennial culprits, teachers and lecturers protest at the beginning of academic terms or exam periods, doctors have on many occasions put down their tools, workers in government and private sector are always at it.

What we tend to forget is that although the sporting world is full of infinite possibilities and countless opportunities, the players sporting lives and personal careers are finite, meaning they have limited time to work, make money and even a mark at the top level.

No wonder poor former sports personalities in Uganda are insulted. The National Social Security Fund (NSSF) embarrasingly uses one of the former footballer’s Charles Temaligwe (KCC FC) on their advertising billboards as an example of someone who never planned for his money well at the peak of his strength.

Legendary Philip Omondi, Paul Hasule, Magid Musisi died miserably poor.

Jackson Mayanja, Ibrahim Ssekagya, Sam Ssimbwa, Fred Tamale, Paul Nkata, Polly Ouma, Edga Watson, David Obua, Simeon Masaba and a few others survived either because they had supportive families, had some education, have formal jobs or got saving lessons the hard way. So the current crop would rather embarrass the federation rather than face the grim reality of ridicule after their glittering careers.

Mr Ntambaazi is a Cranes fan and chairman Kyengera Football Club.
ntag3000@yahoo.com