Of Fufa and sentences that end with a comma

Sunday October 6 2019

Magogo  (c) reacts during a KCCA game at

Magogo (c) reacts during a KCCA game at Lugogo. Below is Cranes coach — McKinstry. PHOTO BY JOHN BATANUDDE 

By Robert Madoi

The past weekend in many respects felt like a sentence that ends with a comma. It just didn’t feel right.

How could it! What with the ejection of Uganda from the Cecafa Under-20 Challenge Cup and KCCA FC Caf Champions League! Both ejections were umbilically linked if not by the melancholy produced then the fact that they played out on home soil.

In between the two ejections came the bombshell. News that Moses Magogo had stepped aside ostensibly to ensure that a protracted investigation reaches a logical conclusion was classic man bites dog.

The investigation itself pivots around 177 tickets to 2014 Fifa World Cup matches that Magogo allegedly sold.
Seen with 21st-century eyes, Magogo’s modernising days that kicked off in 2013 were widely expected to leave us at the cusp of a golden age.

While the rich pickings have not quite evaporated, fulminations from the football fraternity about what will happen next shouldn’t be taken for granted. The air is thick with claims that this love story might not have a Cinderella lived-happily-after ending after all.

Yet the knee jerk reaction of Fufa under the interim leadership of Justus Mugisha has been one of equivocation. Aware of the limits to which denial can be stretched, the top brass at Mengo has tried however it can to show that it’s business as usual.

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A new substantive Cranes coach — Johnny McKinstry — was unveiled on Monday in a move that some think is tailored to wish out of existence inconvenient realities. While it did succeed in shrinking column inches dedicated to covering the fallout from the ticket fiasco, the basic problems still remain. They cannot be wished away, and in last weekend’s ejections we saw their devastating consequences.

If Magogo is to plough toward the end of half a dozen years in power Lawrence Mulindwa bequeathed to him, it won’t dim the commendable things that have been done. Not one known to be unassuming, Magogo himself tells anyone that cares to listen that no-one can take away the fact that he’s made qualifying for Afcon finals a habit.

Fufa’s club licensing has also been held up as a model on the continent. Yet it appears a bit paradoxical that KCCA in part owe their ejection from the Caf Champions League to failure to license their offseason acquisitions in time for the continental showpiece.

If it is a bit of a stretch blaming Fufa for the Kasasiro Boys’ painstakingly slow player licensing, the same cannot be said of shoehorning a Cecafa Under-20 tournament in a manner that upsets the fortunes of continental representatives. Organisers of European leagues are known to schedule their fixtures in such a away that doesn’t handicap their representatives.

European FAs would also never give the green light to a tournament held outside the Fifa-sanctioned window on the simple premise that it upsets a time-honoured delicate balance. Uganda though is a different animal.

The Cecafa Under-20 Challenge Cup was scheduled to negate strengths of Uganda’s representatives. KCCA lost its first team assistant manager, Morley Byekwaso. Players like Sadat Anaku were also faced with an energy-sapping journey from Gulu -- where the Challenge Cup was held -- to Lugogo.

Ditto Proline whose dynamic duo of Ivan Bogere and Bright Anukani also had to brave the punishing journey days before a crucial return leg. Luckily for them, Proline just about managed to edge past AS Kigali.

But there’s growing consensus that Fufa, which has received plaudits for its club licensing programme, should put more thought into its scheduling of fixtures. Short of that, the country will continue to encounter sentences that end with a comma.

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