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Fufa drop the ball with Desabre appointment
Robert Madoi
Posted: 3 months 2 weeks

When Fufa severed ties with Milutin 'Micho' Sredojevic last year, it did not feel like The Cranes were drifting inexorably towards a crossroads. The senior national football team in fact appeared to be back to its zestful best when a 1-0 win over Egypt had it flirting with World Cup qualification.

The purple patch emboldened interim Cranes coach Moses Basena to throw his hat in the ring. While Basena was confident of landing a substantive appointment, the deeply held notion was that he was going to be sorely disappointed. And so it turned out. Last week, amidst lots of fanfare, Fufa unveiled Sébastien Desabre as new Cranes coach. The 41-year-old Frenchman was touted as the jack in the box that will take Uganda places.

It is neither easy nor sensible to disentangle the optimism the appointment has invited. Desabre may not have much grasp about the contours of international football (he’s managed clubs throughout his career), but his is a glamorous appointment. The timing of the appointment, nevertheless, reflects a less glamorous truth: A sheer lack of planning.

This column has previously enumerated the positives of having a Ugandan coach at the driving wheel during tournaments like the Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup and African Nations Championship. Your columnist has argued that such an approach essentially helps build capacity. Fufa has in its wisdom decided not to buy into this column's line of thought. While there is nothing wrong with this, asking a substantive appointment to call the shots at the 2018 African Nations Championship (Chan) just days after taking the reins is sure to be associated with unwarranted confidence and impudence. It is also bound to get a bad rap, deservedly so.

So much for planning! If Fufa wanted Desabre to wield The Cranes' coaching reins in Morocco, conventional wisdom suggests that an appointment should have been made before the 2017 Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup got underway. The tournament would have been a handy learning curve for the substantive appointment, wouldn't it?

If the unavailability of Kalushya Bwalya (tasked with heading the committee that eventually Cranes coach hopefuls) initially stalled the process, then maybe Fufa should have let Basena (his obvious deficiencies notwithstanding) call the shots at Chan 2018. Desabre would then watch on from the sidelines, identifying which players would be of great utility during the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers. Such a hands-on assignment would certainly benefit Basena more than the coaching course that will — thanks to Fufa — take him to USA.


Robert Madoi

Sports Producer

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