The opening matchday of this season’s Caf inter-club competitions saw Uganda have the rare distinction of weaving a confusing tangle that shocked its friends and delighted its enemies.
The record will show that Uganda’s representatives – Express (Caf Champions League) and URA (Caf Confederation Cup) – head into this weekend’s crucial return legs with an air of nervous expectancy following marginal, identical 2-1 wins on home soil.
Just to be clear, while it is not quite a revisionist view, such a condensation does not process the full enormity of what happened. True, defending their home advantage – albeit tenuously – earned Uganda’s representatives a distinction they shared with the few continental powerhouses that suffered the ignominy of figuring in the preliminary round.
Some vociferous supporters of Ugandan club football winnowed the choices before them, and came to the conclusion that the scoring display of forwards Steven Mukwala and Eric Kambale shamed the Cranes backroom staff.
Two blanks were drawn against Kenya and Mali after Micho Sredojevic showed a proclivity for forwards plying their trade outside Uganda in what looks primed to be a bumpy road to Qatar 2022.
Just as there is no guarantee that a reliance on foreign-based stars will teach restraint by the very results of its abuse, so too is the mistaken idea that home-based products have a magic wand. As forgettable Chan (African Nations Championship) performances have shown, their record has been the best a Ugandan footballer can hope for: mixed.
The opening matchday of this season’s Caf inter-club competitions showed us why this era of aimlessness is not about to end. Both Express and URA failed to deploy a head coach in the dugout during their respective first leg encounters at home.
The Tax Collectors will have the vastly experienced Sam Timbe cleared to take his place at the touchline in Ethiopia for the return leg. Make no mistake, though, these failures cast a wary eye toward the future of Ugandan club football. There are just under 10 Ugandan coaches with industry-recognised certifications (Caf A licence) to run the rule over Caf inter-club matches.
If this does not put alarming strains on something that is already dangerously frayed, then your columnist does not know what does!
Fufa always takes great delight in its club licensing tool, arguing that such unflagging efforts are sufficiently supportive of growing the craft of local coaches. Events from last weekend will , however, give the licensing tool an especially bitter edge.
Little wonder, the local football governing body this past week announced that it won’t countenance having non-Caf B licensees in the dugout during the impending 2021/2022 StarTimes Uganda Premier League season.
History, however, suggests that its latest threat squats rather awkwardly between the extremes of putative training in self-control and selective amnesia.
Whereas Fufa feels vaguely apologetic about events from last weekend, the matter-of-fact tone in its latest decree will crack once the impracticability becomes evident. If it has not already! Yet such is the gravity of the coaching deficits in Uganda that they cannot be wished away.
The dearth of well-tooled coaches is still more prevalent, and more frequently pernicious in its consequences. Sooner or later, Fufa will have to stop kicking the can down the road.
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