What you need to know:
- Inside the fallout. Khalid Aucho makes his case after being thrown out of Cranes camp as Fufa dismiss the player was being punished for his political beliefs
Cranes interim head coach Abdallah Mubiru has full confidence in his available players after midfielder Khalid Aucho was dismissed from camp at the weekend.
Mubiru was stopped from discussing the player’s dismissal in detail by Fufa but disclosed that he would not be calling any replacements for Aucho.
“There is no time to add new players,” Mubiru told Daily Monitor, “We shall use the ones we have. He wasn’t going to be part of this game, anyway.”
Aucho was already suspended for the Afcon qualifier against Burkina Faso on Wednesday but was available for the trip to Malawi next week before his dismissal.
New Mexico’s Mike Azira should dictate proceedings in the middle of the park on Wednesday, but it is Taddeo Lwanga, and perhaps Moses Waiswa, that will look to take full advantage of Aucho’s absence going forward.
Aucho himself insists Fufa were too harsh on him and believes they could have still handled the matter differently.
Aucho, who made his Cranes debut against Rwanda in Cecafa Cup in 2013 and has 50 caps and two goals, is accused of “refusing” to travel by official means of transport from Entebbe airport to the team hotel, and delaying to report to camp.
“I was sick about three days before I came here,” Aucho told Daily Monitor.
“So when I arrived here and my body wasn’t feeling great, I decided to go for a checkup. I went to Bweyogerere and tested and was found to have bacterial infection.”
Meanwhile, Aucho also said he wanted to check on his family because “they are the ones that keep pushing me.”
“But they (Fufa) showed that they don’t give players respect. I respect myself and have never been indisciplined in the national team,” he said.
“So I’m there, and about 7pm they are telling me I’ve been dismissed, yet there are some players that had spent 48 hours and they were not in camp yet, others 24 hours.”
According to Fufa, foreign-based players who arrive after camp started are supposed to be picked and taken straight to the team hotel.
Pushed on why he didn’t go to the Cranes doctor, Aucho said: “I have a private doctor, just like all players.
“If I’ve entered camp, the team doctor takes over, but if I’m out, that is private and I use my personal doctor. But all in all, I wish the team good luck.”
“I know there are some things they’re trying to stoke which I don’t want to go into,” added Aucho, alluding to his relationship with former presidential candidate Robert Kyagulanyi.
During the January campaigns, Aucho showed support for Kyagulanyi, aka Bobi Wine, on social media.
And in the wake of his dismissal from camp, the National Unity Platform leader, Bobi, actually took to Facebook to condemn the expulsion, linking it to his relationship with the player.
“He has been using his social media channels to speak out against this injustice, and to sympathise with the victims,” said Bobi, sharing screenshots of the player’s open call against Uganda Police brutality among other things.
“It is unfortunate that he is now the latest victim of the State’s persecution of those that stand with the people.”
But Fufa publicist Ahmed Hussein dismissed suggestions of any political underhand dealings in the fallout.
“All Uganda Cranes players and officials are bound by the National Teams Code of Conduct formulated way back in 2017,” said Hussein.
“When players were being invited two weeks ago for the two matches vs Burkina Faso and Malawi, air ticket was sent and a circular dated March 4, 2021 attached reminding players and officials of their obligations in line with National Teams’ Code of Conduct.
“Permission for players to miss from camp is only granted by the Head coach, in this case, the player had to follow the same procedure.
“Unfortunately, Aucho didn’t. The decision taken by Fufa has no political inclination.”
More of the same
This is not the first time a Cranes personnel is being suspended on the eve of an important game. In 2011, David Obua [pictured] was expelled from camp before the final game against Kenya at Namboole.
Obua was accused of insubordination after he refused to attend a meeting with President Museveni in the camp.Uganda drew that one goalless and failed to qualify for Afcon 2012 finals.
Ahead of Chan finals this year, goalkeeping coach Fred Kajoba was expelled from camp by his boss Johnny McKinstry for breaching Covid regulations. McKinstry himself has since been suspended by Fufa.
In 2004, Philip Obwiny and Joseph Mutyaba were expelled from team camp at Jokas hotel for watching TV in the dead of the night.
Afcon 2021 qualifiers
Uganda vs. Burkina Faso
Monday, March 29
Malawi vs. Uganda