For the first time after a major tournament, Uganda Cranes’ players have been heavily involved in transfers abroad. After the Cranes bowed out of the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon), Abdu Lumala, Khalid Aucho, Emmanuel Okwi, Taddeo Lwanga, Allan Kyambadde, Robert Odongkara and Mike Azira all switched clubs.
Like coach Sebastien Desabre, all found new homes at clubs in the Egyptian Premier League except Odongkara, who left Adama City in Ethiopia for Horoya in Guinea while Azira left Montreal Impact to join Nicolas Gaitan and Bastian Schweinsteiger Chicago Fire in the Major League Soccer in USA.
Such moves excite the football fraternity owing to the incentives in offing. But some of the transfers do not reach fruition as evidenced by a pile of examples.
A promising player makes it out of Uganda, but can’t survive the failure monster that often awaits them in professional club football. That demon has hovered within Ugandan players forcing many to return home. Mohammed Shaban is the latest case.
The forward was on the lips of many after his debut topflight season at Onduparaka in 2016. He joined KCCA for the 2017-18 season before joining Moroccan side Raja Casablanca a year ago. But he endured a tough spell, got relegated to the club’s U23s before returning home and now will play for Vipers on a two-year contract after a move reportedly at Shs140m. How do players like Lwanga and Kyambadde who have left local clubs Vipers and KCCA respectively avoid similar returns? That’s the question thrown to the entire football family.
There is need to guide players on when to make the move, where to go and what to do when in a foreign club. Former Cranes’ skipper Ibrahim Sekagya remains Uganda’s best football export and there are plenty of lessons centred on patience, hard work, determination and focus which ought to be picked.
It is mind boggling to listen to stories where Sekagya was Sadio Mane’s inspiration when the two played together at Red Bull Salzburg in Austria during the 2012-13 season.
The Liverpool and Senegal forward Mane is now a Uefa Champions League winner. How did Sekagya make it? Do the elevated coaching standards by Fufa add substance to the quality of the players, are agents or intermediaries in a rush for a cut off a deal, do players give enough when the big chances come their way?
Plenty of questions, few answers… the status quo must, however, change.
Our commitment to you
• To be accurate and fair in all we do.
• To be respectful to all in our pursuit of the truth.
• To refuse to accept any compensation beyond that provided by Monitor Publications Ltd. for what we do in our news gathering and decision-making.
Further, we ask that we be informed whenever you feel that we have fallen short in our attempt to keep these commitments.