MENGO – It is not easy to set a target and achieve it either on time or before due date but for the Federation of Uganda Football Association (FUFA), they can take pride in the fact that they did exactly that.
Back in 2014 at one of their symposiums, FUFA set a target of seeing the Uganda Cranes participate at the 2019 AFCON.
Two years before their set target, the federation oversaw Uganda reach the continental finals in Gabon, achieving their long term target before the due date.
It was a target already achieved but due to their ambitious tendencies, they knew that the job was not yet done and concentrated on AFCON 2019, a target that they eventually achieved with a game to spare, in the qualifiers.
With all that now history, the people in Mengo have once again opened a new chapter, setting the World Cup 2026 as their new target.
This was revealed at a press conference at FUFA House in Mengo where the Federation president made the announcement.
“Everyone is aware that the last time Uganda had reached the AFCON finals before 2017, was in 1978, with close to 80% of Ugandans unborn. Said Magogo.
“That took us 38 years, 19 attempts, 14 FUFA presidents, 16 head coaches, over 16 captains, over 800 players and six heads of state so as to qualify once again for the finals.
“When we came up with the target back in 2014, many people doubted us and I have to admit, it felt like we were a bit being over-ambitious.
“We knew it was not going to be easy but we drew down a strategy which we executed and I can proudly sit here and say we achieved our goal.
“It feels great that we did not only achieve our 2019 AFCON target but we did so two years prior as the Cranes participated at the 2017 finals in Gabon.
This is a major milestone for the Federation which has stuck to its goals and values despite a lot of challenges along the way.
On top of securing their targets, they ensured that the team plays what is termed as ‘beautiful’ football.
“The other thing is that we have not only qualified for the two AFCONs but also played beautiful football which many Ugandans can sit back home and pride in. Magogo continued.
“We came up against the best team on the continent (Senegal) and despite the fact that we lost, we used the game to measure our progress and our performance speaks volumes.
Uganda who have never made it to the World cup will have two finals to achieve that according to Magogo.
“Today I sit here to announce that that AFCON 2019 chapter is now closed and we are setting new targets. Continued the FUFA president.
“We may have overachieved in the recent past but that will not stop us from setting our sights on bigger goals.
“We still have challenges like our players not making it to the top leagues in the world but we will also be looking to overcome that, such that when we come up against sides like Senegal and Egypt, we can compete ably.
“As a federation, we have our sights set on the FIFA World Cup 2026.
“It is an ambitious move but we know we have time on our side to achieve that as there are three AFCON finals before the said World Cup, three CHANs and the World cup 2022 in Qatar.
Magogo who replaced Lawrence Mulindwa in 2013, also noted that they are aware of certain people who continuously try to frustrate the Federation’s plans but assured that all that will not hinder their plans.
“There are some forces that try to weather down our plans and achievements by trying to shade a very wrong picture about FUFA.
“I can assure everyone that FUFA is very healthy, it’s working and its governance structure is very proper, hence the success we are currently achieving.
“Football is supposed to unite people and the frenzy that went on as Uganda played at the 2019 AFCON is a testament to that.
Also during the same press conference, Magogo assured that all the players have been paid and none of them is demanding the federation a single penny.
“Today as I speak, none of the players is owed a single shilling.
“Their money from the time they were still playing the 2019 AFCON qualifiers, has been wired to their accounts.
It should be noted that the Uganda Cranes players who featured at the 2019 AFCON in Egypt each received UGX 55m initially and they were added another $6000 following a strike before the Senegal game.
However, the Cranes are without a permanent head coach after Sebastien Desabre terminated his contract.
In a move to curb the issues, FUFA has announced that Abdallah Mubiru will take over the role on an interim basis.