Federation of Uganda Football Association (FUFA), President, Eng Moses Magogo has hit back at critics who are accusing him and the football governing body of suspending midfielder Aucho Khalid from the camp allegedly due to his political inclinations.
FUFA said that Aucho was on Friday suspended from the camp over failure to adhere to the national team Code of Conduct, when he, on arrival, at the airport refused to board the official means of transport organised to pick him to the team camp at Cranes Paradise Hotel-Kisaasi, which is a requirement for all players in a bid protect the team from COVID19.
Uganda Cranes is currently in camp preparing for two crucial Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) Qualifiers against Burkina Faso and Malawi due next week.
But since the suspension, several journalists, social media users and politicians have claimed that the talented player was axed for supporting former presidential candidate, Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu alias Bobi Wine.
“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.”
Makindye West MP, Allan Ssewanyana, a renowned critic of Magogo’s leadership, claimed that, “The NRM FUFA president orders dismissal of Uganda cranes midfielder (Khalid Aucho) over his political affiliation to opposition party NUP.”
FUFA would outrightly dismiss the claims clarifying that the player was dismissed from the current Uganda Cranes camp but may be considered for future national team engagements.
Now, Magogo who visited the team this morning during its second day training at St Mary’s Kitende Stadium, described the claims as “intimidation and distortion of facts”.
According to Magogo, despite having in the national team officials, staff, players and coaches coming from different divides of life, membership is strictly by merit and adherence to the rules of belonging and all members are bound to adhere to the National Teams’ Code of Conduct, Circulars and Camp Rules which they are all aware.
“Administrative and punitive actions will always be taken against members of the National Team who fail to observe the rules without fear or favour,” says Magogo.
“There is no amount of intimidation and distortion of facts that can ever make us managers of the team relent from applying the rules as they are. We are living in trying times and football rules on COVID-19 are very stringent,” he adds.
It should noted that Aucho Khalid is not the first to be dismissed from the Cranes’ camp over misconduct, in December last year, the team’s goal keeping Coach, Fred Kajoba was also shown exit from the Cranes’ training base in Kisaasi after he failed to follow ‘the set COVID-19 SOPs’ and observe the camp regulations.
As such, Magogo says the decision is good for the progress of football and whoever indulges different aspects of divisionism is an enemy to the game.
“Any person drawing tribal, religious and political affiliations as the basis for any National Team technical or administrative decision that is good for the entire team is either ignorant of how sports is managed or just following a bandwagon or an enemy to the sport,” notes the FUFA president.
“I call upon the well-intended Ugandans to remain calm as the people in charge are tried and tested in these matters and will always deliver the overall objective,” he adds.
Meanwhile, Aucho Khalid has since expressed remorse for his misconduct calling upon Ugandans, friends, family, FUFA and the teammates to forgive him.