By Andrew Irumba
Cairo: The Uganda Cranes team which is in Cairo, Egypt, for the African Cup of Nations, staged a sit-down strike and refused to appear at the training camp, accusing the Federation of Uganda Football Associations (FUFA) of refusing to pay each player USD6,000, as promised.
Ahead of a crucial game against Africa’s best ranked team Senegal on July 5th in the round of 16, the Cranes failed to show up at the Arab Contractors Stadium on Tuesday evening, leaving many of their fans in Uganda worried
“Yes we decided as a group to keep out of training to send a big message across so that the leaders can pay us,” one of the senior players who preferred anonymity revealed to SpyUganda.com last night.
However, according to the Federation of Uganda Football Associations (FUFA) communications manager, Ahmed Hussein, the members of the contingent have all been paid what they are meant to get till end of June.
FUFA has also made it clear that each player has so far been paid a total of USD14,600 (Shs54 million) by July 2nd. The team reportedly received USD4000 (Shs14.8 million) for their win against DR Congo and USD2000 (Shs7.4 million) for the draw against Zimbabwe. The players also received USD5100 (Shs18.9 million) each for 34 days of camping till June 30th at a rate of USD150 (Shs556,000) per day, USD420 (Shs1.5 million) for the 14 days of camping in Uganda, together with USD300 (Shs1.1 million) for the international friendly against Ivory Coast played in Abu Dhabi.
However, our Spy in the Cranes revealed that the players want the FA to pay an outstanding debt of US10,000 (Shs37 million) that they promised for qualification for 2019 AFCON. The players argue that the Shs2 billion given by President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni for the team to share after qualification is different from the money promised earlier by FUFA.
“It is true FUFA promised them USD10,000 each for qualification. But we engaged the government through President Museveni and money was released which we used to pay them,” said another FUFA official.
However, another player revealed on Wednesday morning that they have been asked to return to training and reminded of the code of conduct document that each of them signed. It remains to be seen if the players will accept to training later on Wednesday evening or continue with the sit-down strike.
Besides Uganda and Senegal, the other teams that have made it to the round of 16 include Egypt, South Africa, Madagascar, DR Congo, Nigeria, Cameroon, Algeria, Guinea, Morocco, Benin, Mali, Ivory Coast, Ghana and Tunisia.
The Uganda Cranes are the second team together with Zimbabwe to go on a sit-down strike and miss training over alleged unpaid allowances at the on-going 2019 Total Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Egypt. The Nigerian team players also boycotted one of the mandatory press conferences over unpaid winning bonuses.