Cash dilemma for Cranes

Kampala, Uganda - Following Uganda’s exit at the Quarter Final stage of the Council for East and Central Africa Football Associations (CECAFA) tournament recently, all seems not to be well in the Cranes Camp.

Murmurs emerging from the team, point to the merger allowances that the players got during the tournament and a rather bizarre figure that was given to the footballers on their return.

According to one of the players who spoke to the East African Business Week on condition of anonymity, they were each given $200 dollars for the  time they spent during the tournament. That is an equivalent of $25 per day.

The footballer adds that on arrival, they were each given Ush10,000 ($3.8) at the Airport to enable them reach their homes.

“Of course we are not happy with the way we have been treated. That Ush10,000 was given to enable us move from the Airport back to Kampala. It is frustrating given the effort we put in during the tournament.”

Sam Lwere, an official at the Federation of Uganda Football Association (FUFA) admits that there are some issues that still need ironing out.“That (mess) is being sorted out. They (players) will be called at a later date and be sorted,” he told this newspaper last week.

On hearing this, another player who did not want to be quoted for fear of angering his bosses was both perplexed and surprised that he only managed to laugh out loud.

However, FUFA President, Moses Magogo during a weekly press conference in Kampala last week said rumours being peddled around are from the dark forces and their agents against football that had gone on vacation and are back to haunt and halt the fast reforms and development efforts.

“The cranes players were paid their dues for CECAFA as the case has been in the past. It was not Ush25,000 ($9.6) as earlier reported by the same persons who breed trouble where there is none. It is however fashionable these days to lie in reputable newspapers and the editorial continue to upload stories proven as lies. It is a calculated agenda to create anarchy where there is none,” he said.

Uganda won all its three group games (1:0 against Rwanda, 3:0 against Eritrea and 1:0 against Sudan) before a 2:2 draw against Tanzania in the quarterfinals led to 2:3 lose on penalties.

An animated Magogo said: “As FUFA we paid what has always been paid to the players for CECAFA, probably the unfortunate incident is that we did not win the prize money which they normally share a percentage at the end of the tournament.”

When FUFA and Airtel recently signed a multi-million deal to sponsor the Uganda Cranes, these were some of the issues that a number of people had expected the partnership to address.

“Whereas the Airtel deal brings to FUFA Ush950m ($365,000), the Uganda Cranes Annual budget is over Ush2.5b ($962,000). We are proud to be sponsored by Airtel, the biggest sports sponsorship that this country has seen. We shall continue to prudently utilise the resources available. Those attempting to ridicule the sponsorship have the same hidden motives and are living in denial,” Magogo observed.

He also rubbished talk that the national team coach, Milutin Sredojević had gone five months without pay saying that the federation is up-to-date with staff payments though done at the expense of development programmes.

For now, we can only hope that the accusations and counter accusations can stop as there is barely a month to the kick of the 2014 Africa Nations Championship (CHAN) in South Africa.