Uganda Cranes and She Cranes’ visit to Rwakitura, President Yoweri Museveni’s country, brought a new bus and a multitude of unanswered questions.
According to Linda Nabusayi Wamboka, the President’s press secretary, the national football team will receive a new team bus to replace the old one Fufa got several years ago.
“Government to handle Shs1bn compensation to accident victims. Pledges new Cranes bus,” Nabusayi tweeted yesterday.
The current bus was involved in accident in late 2015 while the national side were travelling from Soroti where they had met Museveni while he was on the campaign trail ahead of the 2016 polls. Three players; Denis Okot, Hassan Wasswa Dazo and Kezironi Kizito suffered minor injuries.
However, soon after the bus offer, the luncheon that also the netball team, She Cranes, also African Champions and bound for Australia for April’s Commonwealth Games, descended into a questioning for the Fufa president Moses Magogo and the ministry of education and sports official present.
Among those in attendance was the First Lady Janet Museveni who is also the minister of education and sports.
“(Museveni) questions Fufa about gate collections. No straight answers. Directs all to be involved (and) says (the) minister has been marginalised,” Nabusayi further tweeted.
Museveni reportedly asked whether there are budgets for Cranes and neither Fufa nor the ministry officials had a straight answer. In her response, Mrs Museveni claimed not to be aware of any budgets.
“Why not tell the minister what the problem is? #Conflicts,” Museveni said in Nabusayi’s tweet.
Over the past few when government has supported Uganda Cranes or the She Cranes, their funding has often come directly from State House and not the ministry or its subsidiary whose eternal response is lack of money. Of the Shs2.4trillion allocated to the ministry, sports gets Shs12bn.
When Magogo got the chance to speak, he told the President that Uganda Cranes depart for Morocco to take part in the Africa Nations Championship (Chan) starting on January 13 but the team didn’t have any money.
The last Cranes got funding from government or State House was during the World Cup qualifiers that had Uganda face Egypt, Ghana and Congo Brazaville.
Since then, they played the regional Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup and the U-20s featured in the Cosafa Championship.
The 27-man team leaves this afternoon at 3pm via Doha, Qatar. They left Kampala on Monday evening, spent the night in Masaka, training at St Henry’s College Kitovu, before continuing to Rwakitura in Kiruhura District.
Cranes will play friendlies against Congo Brazaville and Cameroon in the week ahead. Thereafter, Cranes, appearing at the Chan for a fifth time, will face Zambia, Ivory Coast and Namibia.