Uganda Cranes midfielder Khalid Aucho has Sunday issued a statement regretting actions that led to his dismissal from the team’s camp.
“Am remorseful and I take full responsibility for the mistakes that led to my suspension from the national team camp for the forthcoming qualifiers against Burkina Faso and Malawi. I regret my actions and am ready to put this behind me as it’s a dream to represent my country,” Aucho partly said in a statement.
Federation of Uganda Football Associations ( FUFA) on Saturday said they wouldn’t hesitate to give the midfielder another chance to don the national colors should he be humble enough to be remorseful and apologize for his misconduct.
“The player has been dismissed from the current Cranes camp but may be considered for future National team engagements,” FUFA stated.
And indeed, Aucho has done exactly what the football governing body expected of him. “To FUFA, fellow players, fans and friends; I can only say I’m sorry. I also accept the fact that many of you will not believe my apology or anything I say at this point but this is my only official statement and it’s from the bottom of my heart,” he said.
“I wish the Uganda Cranes success in the two encounters and hope for the best. See you soon,” Aucho concluded.
FUFA Friday evening said they had suspended the player for refusing to board the official means of transport organised to pick him from Entebbe International Airport to the team camp at Cranes Paradise Hotel-Kisasi after touching down from Egypt where he plays his club football.
In an interview with Grapevine news outlet, Aucho said he landed at Entebbe Airport close to 3pm, and less than 4 hours later, he learnt through an email that he had been suspended.
“I reached at a half past 2, then I told the person they had sent to pick me that I was not feeling well and immediately needed to see a doctor to ascertain why my body was not functioning well,” Aucho said.
“I knew I had to go to camp, I mean, that’s why I traveled here in the first place, but I also needed to at least briefly see my family. I have to see my kids to bless me whenever I’m home because I take so much time away from them,” he added.
The decision to suspend Aucho caught many a Ugandans the wrong way and like it has been the trend to politicise everything in Uganda, the midfielder’s case was never different.
A number of Ugandans including former Presidential Candidate and NUP leader Kyagulanyi Ssentamu Robert alias Bobi Wine came out to castigate FUFA for witch-hunting Aucho for what they said was his [Aucho] right to support whoever he wished to.
With an evidence of several photographs,Bobi Wine tweeted; “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. It is unfortunate that he is now the latest victim of the State’s persecution of those that stand with the people,” he claimed.
The player himself was quoted as saying; “But even if I support any political party, it’s not criminal but constitutional. Me supporting Bobi Wine and is simply a matter of choice, every Ugandan is entitled to.”
To counter Bobi Wine’s claims, Fufa came out and issued a statement (Verbatim);
About the Current Uganda Cranes Camp preparing for two AFCON Matches against Burkina Faso and Malawi;
All Uganda Cranes Players and Officials are bound by the National Teams Code of Conduct formulated way back in 2017.
When players were invited for National team duty two weeks ago for the two matches vs Burkina Faso and Malawi; an air ticket was sent and a circular dated 4th March 2021 attached reminding players and officials of their obligations in line with National Teams’ Code of Conduct. Permission for players to miss from camp is only granted by the Head Coach, in this case, the player had to follow the same procedure. Unfortunately, player Aucho Khalid didn’t.
The decision taken by FUFA against the player has no political inclination.
The player has been dismissed from the current Cranes camp but may be considered for future National team engagements.
FUFA enforces regulations with all its 9 National teams just like it was for goalkeeping coach Fred Kajoba who was asked to leave camp for breaching Covid-19 regulations as the Uganda Cranes prepared for the CHAN tournament.
Nevertheless, Aucho was set to miss the home tie against Burkina Faso due to a red card the acquired during the 1-0 loss to South Sudan at Nyayo National Stadium in Nairobi.
He would however be eligible for the away game in Malawi.
Now that the hard tackling midfielder has come out to apologise, will his actions let the dust settles down? May be yes, may be no but the rest of the team still have a mission to accomplish.
Uganda Cranes have two crucial group B matches in just a week against Burkina Faso on Wednesday 24th at the St Mary’s Stadium in Kitende before playing away to Malawi on Monday 29th.
The Cranes are 2nd in Group B with 7 points one below leaders Burkina Faso with Malawi and South Sudan collecting 4 and 3 points respectively in four matches.