December 3, 2021

Onduparaka FC finances led to mass exodus of players – Nyakuni

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The club, based in the Arua region, is one of the Ugandan sides that has often battled with uncertainty concerning players’ long-term commitments

Onduparaka FC chairman Benjamin Nyakuni has explained why the club has seen key players leave en masse previously.

The Ugandan Premier League side lost Gaddafi Wahab, Vitalis Tabu, Geriga Atendele, Ramathan Dudu, Faizul Anini and Abdul Lukwata in the middle of last season as well as coach Livingstone Mbabazi.

In the ongoing transfer window, Hassan Muhamood has already joined Police FC and Ezra Bida is reportedly on his way Kyetume FC.

Shaban Mohammad, Rashid Toha and Gaddafi Gadinho are also key players who left the club previously after being part of the starting team on a regular basis.

“We had played well in the first round of last season but the exodus happened during the half-season,” Nyakuni said as was quoted by Sports Nation.

“These players also have their own ambitions, and when you don’t give them want they want, they have to go, they have families and at times they want to experience other environments elsewhere.

“But the main challenge has been finances mostly.”

The chair also linked their struggle that almost saw them engaged in the relegation fight to the exodus that happened mid-season.

“Players and coach [Livingston] Mbabazi leaving at half-season demoralised us so much,” he added.

“It became so hard to assemble a strong side at that moment. It was very tough. Our target was at least to come second but the good thing is that we managed to remain in the league.”

Nyakuni further admitted they are still far from competing with the league bigwigs and their weakness is also contributed by their comparatively younger age.

“Our hands are also tied, we can’t go where we can’t reach. We are competing with the big guns but we can’t afford some things they have done,” he continued.

“This has been a learning process, we are also learning, people are judging us like a club that has been here for 30 years.

“We are our own source of learning. We never had any team in our region to learn from during the time we came into existence, but we have plans and we will get there sometime.”

Onduparaka, just like Busoga United and SC Villa, suffered financial constraints and attempted to pressure the Federation of Uganda Football Associations (Fufa) to allocate them part of the relief money they received from Fifa.

“Our agenda was that Covid-19 affected each and every team. We felt that if Fufa is supported by Caf and Fifa, we also needed to be supported,” he revealed.

“We may not have achieved from that campaign as per now but maybe Fufa is thinking for some solutions.”

Nyakuni also feels their location has drained them financially, unlike other teams in the league.

“We travel most and it’s a disadvantage, the cost of running an upcountry club is higher than in central region,” he concluded.

“Football is very expensive and so clubs have to revise ways of doing things. You cannot promise the players that you will not deliver, it’s affecting each and every club.

“But as clubs, it is time we swallow what we can chew. We have to understand our finances.”