Uganda Cranes’ Road to AFCON 2024: A Look at the Issues
Uganda Cranes’ absence from the 2024 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) has brought attention to persistent challenges, particularly in the team’s leadership. The team’s decline in performance and managerial instability under the FUFA management have raised concerns.
In the world of football, national teams have their highs and lows in both on-field and off-field performance. A glimmer of hope emerged in 2017 when Uganda Cranes qualified for AFCON in Morocco after 39 years of absence, under the guidance of Milutin Sredojevic. The team seemed to be on the path to recovery.
Uganda’s back-to-back qualifications and their 2019 AFCON quarter-final appearance, where they narrowly lost 1-0 to Senegal, were promising signs. However, the departures of both Micho and Sebastien Desabre, who managed the team in 2017 and 2019, due to misunderstandings with FUFA and subsequent disappointing performances, derailed their progress.
The revolving door of coaches has been costly for Uganda Cranes, as reflected in their performance in previous AFCON and World Cup qualifiers. Micho’s recent sacking exemplified FUFA’s ongoing management issues.
A recent coaching dilemma with the Crested Cranes, the women’s national team, further highlighted the complexity. Ayub Khalifa, who initially coached the Crested Cranes during the Olympic qualifiers, was asked to step aside a few days before a crucial match against Algeria to prepare the U20 women’s side for the 2024 FIFA U-20 World Cup qualifiers.
Meanwhile, FUFA appointed Abdullah Mubiru, a former Police Football Club coach, to fill the void. This decision raised doubts, mirroring the ongoing concerns surrounding coaching appointments.
Regardless of the Crested Cranes’ performance in their second-leg tie against Algeria, FUFA’s leadership will likely face scrutiny. The issues of managerial stability continue to cast a shadow over Uganda Cranes’ aspirations.