Soul searching for Uganda, Cranes after Afcon failure

Friday April 02 2021
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By missing out on a third straight Afcon, the Cranes will not equal the history of the side of the ‘70s which played three finals in a row until the final in Ghana 1978

By Allan Darren Kyeyune

Uganda Cranes will painfully sit out the next year’s Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) finals but the failure returns the East African nation onto a rather dusty drawing board.
By missing out on a third straight Afcon, the Cranes will not equal the history of the side of the ‘70s which played three finals in a row until the final in Ghana 1978.
Missing Cameroon 2021 weighs out unequal proportions to different stakeholders of the game.
 
Players
A glance at the current national team set-up shows that the unit is in a transition.
Watching teenage defender Gavin Kizito covering up custodian Denis Onyango during the second half in Blantyre on Monday explains it all.

And if the results from this failed qualification campaign and recent blow at Chan finals were any better, the covert change of guard could have been smoother.
Blending experience and youth exuberance comes at an expense of some results and even careers. 
There are some aging players who may bid farewell to pave way for the new blood, either with ease or friction.
 
Clubs
Cranes’ fall at Chan finals hurt local clubs relatively more than the botched Afcon campaign.
However, the Hippos’ decent show at the U20 Afcon finals in Mauritania gives them a glimmer of hope.
Coaches may need to open doors for fresh blood into their match day squads to elongate the conveyor belt but clubs could also look at nurturing their development sides even more.

Fans
The ardent fan has not physically watched the Cranes play in a stadium since beating Malawi 2-0 on November 17, 2019.
And whereas the coronavirus web is still abound, the fans are often not forgiving, as shown by several posts across social media when the Cranes fell to Malawi’s Flames.
Fans already feel the Cranes have fallen in ranks, far from the stage where they made the last 16 at 2019 Afcon finals in Egypt. The recent failure comes weeks after the Hippos’ moment. 
Fans’ demands won’t lower especially with the Fifa World Cup Qualifiers against two neighbours Kenya and Rwanda coming up.
 
Moses Magogo
When the Cranes fail, the first stones are pelted towards a sitting Fufa president.
Magogo has been critiqued as much whenever the Cranes have not met expectations of the 12th man.
Cranes’ failure leaves a dent to Magogo’s wrap of his second term at the helm of Fufa.
Having recently secured the Budiope East constituency seat for the forthcoming 11th Parliament, it remains to be seen whether the electrical engineer will deep in fully ahead of the Fufa elections due August 31.

Fufa
The Cranes are mistakenly taken as the benchmark for the game in the country and their failure implies a generally gloomy scorecard for football.
The Cranes may miss Cameroon 2021 but Fufa has some momentum to carry on thanks to the Hippos’ show.

That feat equated to Cranes’ run at Afcon 1978 is partly a result of Fufa’s deliberate work with underage football at the Fufa Juniors League among others.
Fufa could focus more on youth football programs to produce more youngsters like Ivan Asaba, Kizito, Derrick Kakooza and co. to be able to secure the future Afcons.
CRANES AFCON 2021 Q- CRANES’ RESULTS
Nov 13, 2019: Burkina Faso         0-0         Uganda
Nov 17, 2019: Uganda         2-0         Malawi
Nov 12, 2020: Uganda         1-0         South Sudan
Nov 16, 2020: South Sudan         1-0         Uganda
Mar 24, 2021: Uganda         0-0         Burkina Faso
Mar 29, 2021: Malawi         1-0         Uganda

dkyeyune@ug.nationmedia.com

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