As Uganda Cranes fell to Senegal in the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations last Friday, to exit the competition at the round of 16, Allan Okello was watching the game from his hotel room in Rwanda where his club side, KCCA FC, is playing the annual Cecafa Kagame Club Cup.
It has now emerged that Okello left camp-Cranes at the insistence of his club, Kampala City Council Authority, who instead wanted him to go for trails abroad.
Some insiders in football circles have expressed misgivings that a club could pull a player out of the national team camp which not only contravenes the international football rules but also think Okello should have been in Egypt with the Cranes and probably on the Cairo International Stadium’s grass trying to make things happen against the superior Senegal side.
However, that would not be the case as the 19-year old was dropped from the team, a week into the first camp at Kabira Country club and pushed to the Cosafa invitational squad.
Initially, Okello was part of the 14 home-based players that were summoned to kick-start preparations for the 2019 Afcon tournament.
The public was made to believe that the decision to drop the 19-year-old was purely footballing but PML Daily understands, it was all KCCA FC’s doing.
The reigning Startimes Uganda Premier League champions decided that Okello travels for trails in Switzerland and if successful, they would earn big from the transfer fee.
“KCCA FC chairperson Aggrey Ashaba advised that Okello should not be included on the AFCON team as the club intended to send him off for trials in Switzerland,” narrated a source that preferred anonymity.
The source further confirms that Ashaba insisted on the move despite getting assurances from Cranes head coach Sebastien Desabre that Okello was very much in his plans and intended to take the playmaker to Egypt.
“Desabre let Ashaba in on his intentions to use Okello in Egypt but the chairman insisted on Okello being left out.
“He was even given 48 hours to think about the matter but he returned with the same stand, prompting Desabre to drop the kid.”
In a PR stunt, Okello was sent to the Cosafa team that was preparing for the South African championships where Uganda would participate as a guest nation but barely a week after, it was announced that he had withdrawn from the set-up.
Three days later, the playmaker departed for trials in Switzerland and after a week, he returned to the country and it was initially reported that KCCA FC was in negotiations with FC Zurich over a move to see Okello sign for the later club.
However, as weeks elapsed, it was understood that Okello had failed to impress the Zurich outfit and would be returning permanently to KCCA FC.
As Okello was preparing for the Kagame Cup at Lugogo, playing low profile friendly games including scoring in a 5-1 win over Proline on Wednesday, his club mates, Timothy Awany and Allan Kyambadde were in Egypt experiencing the Afcon, a tournament Okello should have been part of had his club not acted in a greedy manner.
N24 interacted with KCCA club chairman Ashaba about the matter and he was quick to deny any wrongdoing.
“I was not part of Okello’s
dropping from the National team and whoever fed you that information lied to
you, said Ashaba.
“I don’t advice coaches what to do, it is not my
job and let alone a National team coach.”
Should Okello have been on the Cranes team at AFCON 2019? Yes, he should have, especially after Desabre has openly told Ashaba that he was planning on taking the 19-year-old to Egypt. And with the world watching, maybe he would have been destined for another trial and at a side bigger than FC Zurich.