On August 24th 2018, Uganda beat Ethiopia to seal a place in the U17 AFCON for the first time in their history.
The man who reached this elusive feat was Peter Onen supported by Hamza Lutalo and Mubarak Kiberu.
Onen will not be in position though to reap the benefits of his efforts after being relieved of his duties on January 3rd 2019 with the local football governing body explaining that the growth and development of players was a major objective.
“The changes will help for continuity purposes, growth and development of players in the categorized national teams”.
Said Ahmed Hussein Marsha accounting for the action.
Fast forward, with barely a month to kick off of the tournament in Tanzania, the federation has announced Ghanaian Samuel Kwasi Fabin as head coach.
It has also been revealed that Kwasi has signed a one year contract signaling to the fact that he has been signed on the short term, mainly for the tournament in Tanzania.
FUFA president Moses Mogogo while announcing the appointment to the media, highlighted that experience and connectivity were key in influencing the decision.
“We have had the position of the U17 national team head coach vacant and as FUFA, we looked for someone who has experience with the young players, a person who has contacts. Currently the market in Europe looks at young players”.
Judging by Hussein’s explanation, there appears to be a big rift and contradiction to that of his boss.
While the former points at continuity and development of the young players, Magogo’s reasons for Kwasi’s appointment are directed towards short term achievements (success in Tanzania) and marketing of the young players to the European market.
The move albeit being a glamorous one, it has negatively been received by the local football coaches who think they have been overlooked and undermined by the federation an act of snubbing their services and denying them an opportunity to further their development.
World over, the under age groups have been kept as a preserve for the local and upcoming coaches as a platform for them to experience the deep waters of international football because the only way one can learn how to swim, is to get into the waters.
If Hamza Lutalo for example was offered the same facilities and salary package like that of the newly appointed Kwasi, results would be guaranteed.
The Ghanaian being a previous tournament winner with his native might have been another reason behind his appointment with the federation target qualification for the U17 FIFA World Cup that will be staged in Brazil later this year.
WHO IS SAMUEL KWASI
The 60 year old Ghanaian is blessed with vast experience in the game, having coached at Hearts of Lions, Inter Allies FC, Hearts of Oak and Asante Kotoko SC in his native Ghana.
He led Ghana to the final of the U17 AFCON in Gabon in 2017 and also guided them to the FIFA U17 World Cup India in the same year.
THE 5000 USD IN BRIBES
Kwasi revealed on live radio in an interview with Accra based Happy FM that he had constantly been approached by players’ agents, club officials and agents to get their players into the national teams he coached.
He however confessed that none of the bribes were good enough to tempt him.
THE CONTROVERSIAL EXIT AT ASANTE KOTOKO
Ghanaian website www.ghanasoccernet.com reported on the 14th of September last year that the coach was heard over a leaked video discussing a possible move to an unnamed club president in South Africa.
He was quoted saying that he would fly to South Africa if the club was able to wire some amounts of money to his account to settle his family before joining.
Allegations were refuted by the coach as false, claiming that he tendered in his resignation because Kotoko had planned to sack him and he did not want the word “sacked” on his CV.
It is left to be answered whether a punitive clause barring Kwasi from negotiating other deals during his one year deal has been inserted into his contract.
Uganda will play their opening match of the tournament against Angola on April 14th 2019. They are grouped alongside the hosts Tanzania and Nigeria.