Why Chan finals remain a misleading barometer

Sunday December 1 2019

Cranes coaches Jonathan McKinstry and Abdallah

Cranes coaches Jonathan McKinstry and Abdallah Mubiru honour the national anthem last month when Uganda beat Malawi 2-0. PHOTO BY ISMAIL KEZAALA 

By Robert Madoi

Cranes coach Johnny McKinstry has urged home-based players to use the 2019 Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup and 2020 African Nations Championship or Chan finals as a springboard for greater things.

While Uganda has over the years made it a habit to qualify for Chan finals, the performances of the Cranes have rarely been memorable.

Worse still, there is a laundry list of players whose international careers have failed to kick on after announcing themselves with estimable showings at Chan finals. Yunus Sentamu swiftly comes to mind.

He lit up the 2013 edition of the tournament in South Africa and sure enough was invited to the high table. But after a stop-start Cranes career, one wouldn’t be wide off the mark in concluding that the brakes have been slammed on.

There are several reasons as to why the international careers of Ugandan players don’t kick on after catching the eye at Chan finals.

Top of the lot is that a sense of energy and accomplishment filters into the psyche of players after turning in show-stopping performances at the big time.

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While this isn’t catastrophic, the real danger is that they usually stride boldly into situations for which they are ill prepared.

Most of them choose to join the paid ranks when they are essentially still rough around the edges.

The key thing then will be for powers that be to convince players that staying around and playing in successive Chan finals isn’t such a bad thing.

It is quite frankly speaking a progressive milestone, but don’t expect things to change drastically. Not with our broken system that is dotted with player intermediaries who promise gullible players heaven on earth.

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