The Ugandan Cranes were knocked out of the ongoing African Cup of Nations (AFCON) by Senegal after they lost 1 – 0. This prevented them from advancing to the quarter-final stage of the competition hosted by Egypt.
But who cares? Certainly not the players of course, who have just been given a cash reward of I million United States Dollars (Shs 3.7 Billion) for their outing in Egypt!
It appears football is the only profession in the world where you get handsomely rewarded for losing. How interesting.
According to President Yoweri Museveni, the cash gift was a reward to the team for advancing to the knockout stage of the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) 2019.
President Museveni announced the cash reward at a dinner held in honor of the Uganda Cranes players at State House Entebbe yesterday evening after they were knocked out of the competition in Cairo, Egypt.
"I'm very happy that the Cranes went up to the Last 16. I know we will perform better next time. I will organize 1 million dollars with the government to distribute it among the players and officials," he said.
He, however, instructed how the money should be shared, saying the players should get more than the officials.
"Of course, the officials will not get as much as the players," he added.
Known to be a man who offers advice to virtually everyone, he identified a lack of stamina as the reason behind the country’s elimination from the tournament.
"Although we didn't win all our fixtures, we made a good effort and achieved some reasonable success. I don't know how Senegal got that goal. I see our players are all fit young people. All they need is more stamina," Mr. Museveni said.
There is no doubt that the team and their loved ones would be very happy with the donation. But critics have argued that it is a complete waste of public funds especially as the country is battling with limited resources and budgetary support in areas such as security, education, health, roads, piped water, electricity, and ICT.
Another point critics have faulted the move is the attention paid to football and footballers.
Other sports teams and athletes in the country have not been given such privilege. This, critics say, is an undue advantage and attention.
Some critics have called on the president to fund the donation from his personal accounts and not taxpayers’ money. But you will agree that they themselves know that would not be the case.
What are your thoughts? Was this a good step in the right direction or a waste of public funds?
Header Image Credit: TheLead