Promise is a debt they say, and during this difficult COVID-19 period, it doesn’t require Shakespeare to explain the financial struggles most people find themselves in including the Uganda Cranes squad that played at the AFCON 2019 in Egypt.
Denis Onyango’s army reached the knockout stages of the tournament for the first time since 1978, before losing to Senegal 1-0 via Sadio Mane’s strike.
The dark note to Uganda’s impressive campaign came via a player strike with the squad demanding bonuses for the win and draw against DRC and Zimbabwe respectively.
On return though, the mood was lifted after President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni promised the entire contingent a state gift worth UGX 3.6 billion (USD One million for a job well done.
Museveni announced the cash reward at a dinner he held for the players at the State House in Entebbe on July 8, 2019, as he welcomed the squad back from the Egyptian capital, Cairo where the tournament was held.
“I’m very happy that the Cranes went up to the last 16. I know we will perform better next time.”
“I will organise one million dollars with the government to distribute it among the players and officials,” the President said, adding that; “Of course, the officials will not get as much as the players.”
However, nine months on since the pledge was made, nothing has come forth and the players seem to have chosen to remind the Head of State in a rather rhetoric way on social media.
Goalkeeper Salim Jamal went first reacting to Bad Black’s recent payment of UGX 500 million after ranting to the government for not paying her after shooting a COVID-19 visual message which was used on all platforms.
Defender Hassan Wasswa Mawanda was straight to the point tagging the president and reminding him how the players haven’t been paid.
And is the same vein, it seems all the Cranes players who were part of the 2019 AFCON campaign have joined Jamal and Wasswa’s rallying call.
Led by their captain Onyango, the players have been sent a unified message throughout all social media outlets in a bid to get the President’s attention.
“Greetings from Uganda Cranes players H.E Yoweri Kaguta Museveni.”
“In these tough COVID-19 times with everyone trying to fend for themselves, we find the timing right to remind you as the No.1 citizen of the Pearl of Uganda about the USD one million dollars promise soon after our respectable show during the African Cup of Nations in Egypt last year,” Onyango tweeted.
“As a captain, my teammates, some already retired now have been on my neck humbly requesting, others in a demanding tone because of the desperate times calling me to remind you of the promise.”
“We feel frustrated, unhappy and somewhat under-appreciated that our token of appreciation hangs in balance. We truly believe that you will come to our rescue soonest as you have done in the past.”
Farouk Miya, Taddeo Lwanga, Allan Kyambadde, Nicholas Wadada, William Kizito Luwagga and Abdu Lumala are some of the Cranes stars who relayed the message on their social media platforms.
FUFA has always reiterated that the government will fulfil their pledge and that it’s a matter of time, however, the players believe it’s long overdue and if anything the funds are really needed now more than ever.
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