The Federation of Uganda Football Association (FUFA) has dismissed claims that it dismissed Cranes’ player, Aucho Khalid from the team’s camp because he supports former Presidential Candidate Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu alias Bobi Wine.
Uganda Cranes is currently in camp preparing for two crucial Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) Qualifiers against Burkina Faso and Malawi due next week.
While announcing the player’s dismissal in a statement on Friday, FUFA said the decision was reached due to Khalid’s failure to adhere to the National team Code of Conduct.
“Aucho refused to board the official means of transport organised to pick him from Entebbe International Airport to the team camp at Cranes Paradise Hotel-Kisasi and has not even reported to camp since his arrival in the country,” reads the statement in parts.
As such, FUFA said, the player’s club, Misr El Makkasa and Egypt Football Association, were duly informed about the decision and a return air ticket was issued to him for his travel back to Egypt.
But on Saturday, Bobi Wine claimed that the player was dismissed for speaking against ‘injustice’ in Uganda and his relationship with him. Khalid has previously posted on Facebook pictures of him with Bobi Wine as well as statements calling for ‘freedom’ in Uganda.
“The Midfielder has in recent times distinguished himself as an athlete who is conscious of the injustice orchestrated against his fellow citizens by the State and its institutions. He has been using his social media channels to speak out against this injustice, and to sympathise with the victims,” wrote Bobi Wine.
He added, “It is unfortunate that he is now the latest victim of the State’s persecution of those that stand with the people. Take heart brother Khalid, it will be over soon.”
FUFA Communications Manager, Ahmed Hussein Marsha, has told this news website that the claims are untrue.
“It’s not true. We know the FIFA Statutes very well. We can’t select players for National team duty based on their political ideologies. It’s about merit,” Ahmed Marsha.
According to FUFA, all players were
informed about their obligations in line with National Teams’ Code of Conduct, including reminding them that permission to miss from camp is only granted by the Head Coach.
“In this case, player Khalid Aucho had to follow the same procedure. Unfortunately, he did not,” explains FUFA in a statement.
The football governing body says that, “selection of players for National team duty is on merit. Aucho was dismissed from the current Cranes camp but may be considered for future National team engagements.”
The body further notes that all players were directed to enter camp upon arrival in the country to avoid any possible spread of COVID19.
Aucho Khalid is not the first person to be dismissed from the Cranes’ camp over related concerns, in December last year, the team’s goal keeping Coach, Fred Kajoba was shown exit from the Cranes’ training base in Kisaasi after he failed to follow ‘the set COVID-19 SOPs’ and observe the camp regulations.