FUFA Considers Withdrawing from CHAN
The Federation of Uganda Football Association- FUFA is considering withdrawing from the 2023 African Nations Championship-CHAN citing the lack of funds to facilitate the team. Uganda qualified for the 2022 TotalEnergies African Nations Championship (CHAN) after defeating Tanzania’s Taifa Stars in the return match at St. Mary’s stadium in Kitende in September this year.
Uganda Cranes was placed in group B alongside Africa’s powerhouses Senegal, Ivory Coast, and DR Congo following draws conducted in October in Algeria. The TotalEnergies CHAN 2022 event was originally set for July 10th to August 1st, 2022 in Algeria but the African Soccer regulatory body- CAF moved it to January 2023 because of the Corona Virus pandemic.
Through his Twitter Handle, the FUFA President, Moses Magogo tweeted Monday morning, saying that they are left with no decision but to withdraw the team due to the lack of funds. “It is sad. Like for the U23, we are left with no further option but to withdraw the Uganda Cranes from CHAN finals because the Ministry of Finance has not provided the funds as appropriated by the Parliament of Uganda,” he said.
“The sanctions on Uganda will affect the future if we don’t take the hard decision now. Sorry for the players and coaches who qualified the team but it is the moment to face the reality,” he added. This comes barely two months after the local soccer governing body took a bold decision to withdraw the National Under-23 team (Uganda Kobs) from the 2023 African Cup of Nations qualifiers over the same issue. FUFA takes the lion’s share of the sports budget, to be precise.
At least 17 billion Shillings out of the 47.8 billion Shillings was ring-fenced for FUFA with 5 billion Shillings specifically going for women’s football development. While appearing before Parliament’s select committee inquiring into the operations of the National Council of Sports last week, Magogo said that as of Thursday, December 8th, 2022 FUFA had only received Shillings 2.878 billion in two installments.
He said that they first received Shillings 400 million on August 29th, 2022, and another Shillings 2.478 billion on October 28th, 2022 in regards to the financial year 2022/2023 budget. Between July and October, several national football teams including Sand Cranes, Crested Cranes, Uganda Cranes, and Uganda Cubs among others have engaged in international competitions, which Magogo earlier said left them with many debts.
Uganda was set to take part in the continental showpiece for the sixth time in a row, having appeared at the previous five editions of 2011, 2014, 2016, 2018, and 2020. But, Uganda Cranes failed to impress in the last editions of the championship. In the last edition, Uganda exited with only one point after suffering a 5-2 defeat to Morocco in the last Group C match. Previously, the team drew with Rwanda and lost to Togo respectively in the first two group games.
The CHAN tournament is played between the best national teams of Africa exclusively featuring players who are active in the national championships and qualified to play in the ongoing season.