First Lady, parliament to honour Onyango

Thursday April 15 2021
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Uganda Cranes captain Denis Onyango

By Patience Ahimbisibwe

The parliamentary committee on education and sports on Thursday heard that Education Minister Janet Museveni will soon honour Uganda Cranes captain Denis Onyango who retired this week.

State minister for sports Hamson Denis Obua made the remarks while appearing before the aforementioned committee.

He was responding to questions from Members of Parliament raised about three players who have retired recently.

The vice-captain Hassan Wasswa was the first, then goalkeeper Onyango and then midfielder Micheal Azira followed suit weeks after the failed attempt to qualify for the Africa Cup of Nations.

Onyango, 35, Wasswa and Azira, both 33, played at the 2017 and 2019 Afcon tournaments. Despite retiring from the national team, their club careers will continue.

MPs alleged that there is more to the way the trio have exited the national team. “In sports, we talk about retirement. We thank them for their illustrious career,” Obua said in response.

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“Human resource experts will tell you that there is time for everything. There is time to enter service, time to serve and time to exit. That is factual. But we thank them for the time and service they have rendered to the country.”

But his submission was unwelcome to committee members chaired by Jacob Opolot (MP Pallisa County).

“I want you to know this issue is touching people. I want you to know it is very sensitive. It’s not as simple as that. All these are from different parts of the country,” Opolot said.

“When they hear that response, they start getting some misgivings. We are talking of a team where we are putting Shs10 billion while others are crying and we would wish to look at the management of the sportspeople being a reflection of that investment that government is putting.”

Busia MP Geoffrey Macho claimed the players were leaving the national team because of poor management. 

“As an MP from Busia where Denis comes from, I think it is unfair for the minister to say that statement. All the people resigning are doing so because there is something which has gone wrong,” reasoned Mr Macho.  

“I expected the minister to say; give us time to investigate this. People are resigning and the Federation of Uganda Football Association (FUFA) president Eng. Moses Magogo is quiet.”

Opolot interjected saying that Magogo wasn’t quiet as he was seen ‘insulting’ players on national television.

Obua explained that they were studying the situation which they also believe is being fueled by the federation’s upcoming elections.

“There is that aspect of politics. Even me, time will come to quit. It is natural. We are studying issues of management and politics. We are not seated and watching. There are also invisible hands,” Obua retorted.  

“There are those moving underground telling players to do this. Onyango has been the most disciplined player. Denis will be honoured soon by the Minister of Education and Sports and the First Lady Janet Museveni. He has had an illustrious career. I am happy to hear that parliament will also honour him.”

Obua also appealed for Shs97.2 billion to facilitate Mandela National Stadium renovation which has never been done since 1999. 

However, the MPs demanded a written report on the status of the stadium including how much is raised from the businesses conducted at the national stadium.  

pahimbisibwe@ug.nationmedia.com  

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