Let Us Criticise the Cranes, but Not Ridicule Them [editorial]

It has become a norm in Ugandan sport to heap blind praise in celebration of glory, only to turn around and mock yesterday’s heroes when they later taste defeat.

In the aftermath of Uganda’s 0-2 defeat to Guinea on Wednesday night, a result that confirmed The Cranes’ failed bid to qualify for the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations, there has been an outpouring of emotions and many Ugandans took to social media platforms to vent their disappointment.

While some fans gracefully accepted the fate in true sporting fashion, most of the views centred on imputation of blame. Other people, as if coordinated, were in a competition to outdo one another in making a laughing stock out of the national football team.

Much of the contempt was geared towards skipper Andy Mwesigwa, who, after more than a decade in the national team, was torn to shreds like an outcast. It is easy to forget that many of those enthusiasts celebrated Uganda’s 1-0 win over Ghana just four days earlier and eagerly hoped for a breakthrough after 36 years of failure.

To understand the unpredictable nature of national loyalty, one doesn’t need to look further than the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. Some media outlets wrote off the career of long-distance runner Moses Kipsiro after he pulled out midway through the 5,000m final.

Days later, Kipsiro was the national darling after winning the country’s only gold medal in the more gruelling 10,000m. Given that background, the backlash does not inspire but only serves to demoralise our national representatives, especially when one factors in the low government funding towards sport.

It is true The Cranes needs serious soul searching and the criticism should be aimed at finding solutions for the future. It goes without saying that Fufa, the local football body, needs a thorough overhaul of the national team set-up right from the technical aspect to the management, in order to avoid the endless mishaps befalling The Cranes.

For five successive campaigns, we have done the same things and got the same results. If we don’t change, we cannot expect the players to suddenly change the outcome.

Source : The Observer

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