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Uganda joins list of striking countries at AFCON 2019


July 02: Uganda Cranes strike

Uganda’s national team on Tuesday became the latest to strike over payment of performance bonuses, after their training ahead of a last 16 tie against Senegal was called off.

The training scheduled for 19:00 hours local time at the Arab Contractors stadium was called off, amidst rumours that the players were striking over the non-payment of bonuses worth $6,000 per player for the group stage win and draw against Democratic Republic of Congo and Zimbabwe respectively.

The country’s football federation (FUFA) however insists that the players have been paid all their match bonuses, including allowances covering the one and a half months of training camp they had before the tournament.

According to FUFA, each player has so far been paid a total of $14,600 as of Tuesday. The money includes $4000 for their win against DR Congo, $2000 (Shs7.4 million) for the draw against Zimbabwe, $5100 each for 34 days of camping till June 30th at a rate of US$150 per day, $420 for 14 days of camping in Uganda and $300 for an international friendly against Ivory Coast played in Abu Dhabi.

FUFA on Wedneday said the team had regrouped and were ready for training ahead of the crunch tie against Sadio Mane’s Senegal.

‘‘The players and technical team of Uganda Cranes have regrouped for post match analysis of Egypt game, plan for the evening training session at 7pm today and Senegal on Friday,’‘ read FUFA’s tweet.

Nigeria’s teams

Nigeria’s national team at the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON 2019) staged a strike over unpaid bonuses, when it refused to train ahead of Wednesday’s clash against Guinea.*

Nigeria’s Super Falcons who represented the country at the Women’s World Cup in France also staged a sit-in strike at a hotel, while Cameroon and Zimbabwe have also come to AFCON 2019 with unresolved payment issues.

The Super Eagles of Nigeria who had been striking over over unpaid bonuses at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations underway in Egypt, eventually suspended their strike on Tuesday.

The players had reportedly not received a $10,000 match bonus that they had each been promised.

The team finally agreed to train in Alexandria ahead of their game against Guinea in Alexandria, after the Nigerian Football Federation promised to pay a win bonus from their 1-0 victory over Burundi on Saturday.

Nigerian Football Association spokesman Ademola Alajire said the matter had been resolved, conceding that funds for the tournament had arrived late.

The Nigerian under-20 team and the women’s team, whose world cups are ongoing in Poland and France respectively, also went on strike over unpaid bonuses.

Cameroon’s late arrival at AFCON

Cameroon’s arrival at the tournament in Egypt was delayed by 24 hours when the squad refused to board their plane in Yaounde while they haggled over increased appearance fees and bonus monies.

They eventually boarded after negotiations with government officials and coach Clarence Seedorf suggested on Sunday that the experience might well turn out to be a positive.

“All teams in the world at some point in their history experience such troubles,” said the former Netherlands international and four-time Champions League winner, “but it will not affect our morale or our preparations.”

“Actually the bonus crisis has reinforced the team spirit and the determination within the squad to perform well. There was some tension but the players have behaved maturely and they’ve decided to be here to fight for Cameroon.

Cameroon won their tournament opener against Guinea Bissau at Ismailia on Tuesday, and are top of Group F after Benin and Ghana settled for a 2-2 draw in the other Group F game.

Zimbabwe’s AFCON uncertainty

While Zimbabwe’s football federation denied allegations that the national team threatened to boycott AFCON 2019 over a pay dispute, the team’s striker Khama Billiat said he was happy with his country’s performance against Egypt ‘under the circumstances’.

‘‘I think the guys are really professional, if credit to them for that, that we put everything away in the space of a few hours, and shifted our focus to the game,’‘ Billiat said after Zimbabwe’s 0-1 loss to hosts Egypt.

ZIFA and Warriors have signed a contract and both parties will honour and respect all contractual obligations,’‘ the football association had reiterated before the tournament opener.

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