KAARO KARUNGI | SPORTS – Following the retirement of three long-serving Cranes players; Dennis Onyango, Mike Azira, and Hassan Wasswa, there has been talk of rebuilding the side as it is anticipated more will follow suit.
But what is needed in the rebuilding? Do we have the talent coming through; if we do, are they experienced enough to handle the pressure and demands that come with playing for the national side? Are FUFA and the Ugandan fan patient enough to wait for the rebuilding process?
Players such as Saidi Kyeyune and Brian Aheebwa have blown hot and cold for club and country at some point but the former was ignored for the decisive AFCON qualifiers against Burkina Faso and Malawi despite emerging as the best player for Uganda in the CHAN tournament in Cameroon.
According to the different coaches and academy owners, there is no doubt that the country is awash with talent but there is a need to focus beyond just replacing those who have retired.
Cranes coach Abdallah Mubiru says it is natural that someone will be replaced when they retire, and automatically the replacements are there, but that it is not right to always judge and draw comparison with the new person to the one retiring like it is in most cases.
“If for example, you look at Onyango, he emerged from a humble background but he is now big because he has gained experience over time, so we need to give the new players time to also go through the same process,” noted Mubiru.
“The process of building that big personality is a process which we should have already embarked on as a country. But we didn’t; so we have to be patient because even the Onyango’s have also gone through a process until they gained experience and started qualifying for the AFCON.
“But despite the long period we went through before qualifying, it doesn’t mean that we shall have to wait for that long but we have to accept the rebuilding process and the replacements in all positions are there. So we need to be a little bit patient because the players cannot immediately perform at the same level as the retirees.