Football

FUFA appoint Belgian Paul Put as new Uganda Cranes Head Coach

FUFA appoints Belgian Paul Put as new Head Coach of Uganda Cranes
Belgian Coach, Paul Put has been appointed Uganda Cranes coach on a two year contract (Photo/Courtesy)

Kampala, (UG): The Federation of Uganda Football Associations (FUFA) has appointed Belgian tactician Paul Put as the new head coach of the Uganda Cranes, the men’s national football team.

Put, 67, who formerly managed neighbours Kenya steps into the footsteps of Serbian Milutin Sredojević ‘Micho’, on a two-year contract running until November 2025. He brings to Uganda a wealth of experience garnered from coaching various African national teams.

The country’s football governing body said via X that they had confidence in their choice of the Belgian as the new head coach of the men’s national team.

“FUFA rolled out an application process and we got over 150 coaches including two Ugandans who applied for the job. After thorough analysis, the FUFA Executive zeroed down on Mr. Paul Joseph Put and we believe he will do a good job,” FUFA boss, Magogo Moses Hassim said.

Put’s coaching journey on the African continent began in 2008 when he assumed the reins of the Gambian national team.

His tenure saw notable progress for the team, laying the foundation for his subsequent ventures. However, it was his stint with Burkina Faso from 2012 to 2015 that truly catapulted him into the limelight.

During his tenure with the Stallions, Put masterminded an impressive run that saw Burkina Faso reach the AFCON finals in 2013, ultimately falling short against Nigeria in a closely contested final. This achievement left an indelible mark on African football and raised Put’s profile as a skilled strategist.

The Belgian’s influence extended beyond Burkina Faso, as he went on to lead national teams in countries such as Congo, Kenya, Guinea, and Gambia. His international expertise culminated in a trophy for Kenya, as he guided them to victory in the 2017 CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup, a memorable feat for Kenyan football.

However, his journey has not been without its share of controversies. Prior to his African coaching exploits, he managed various Belgian club sides, only to face a three-year ban from the Royal Belgian Football Association due to his alleged involvement in the Ye Zheyun match-fixing scandal.

Now, as he takes on the mantle of Uganda Cranes head coach, hopes are high that he can replicate the success he achieved with Burkina Faso and Kenya.

In a departure from previous appointments, Put has been granted the authority to select his own backroom staff.

FUFA Boss Magogo said Put will bring five individuals from Belgium, while also incorporating Ugandan talent into the support structure, signalling a collaborative approach to coaching the Uganda Cranes.

“This time, we have allowed the coach to appoint his own backroom staff and he is already coming with five other people from Belgium. However, there will be Ugandans who will work as part of the backroom staff.” Mr Magogo said.

As the nation anticipates the journey ahead under Put’s guidance, there is a collective hope that he will lead Uganda to the grand stage of the AFCON finals, just as he did with Burkina Faso in 2013, leaving an indelible mark on Ugandan football history.

The 67-year-old was also formerly in charge of Jordan but resigned in January 2016 due to health concerns.

His immediate task will be to guide the Cranes past Guinea and Somalia in the upcoming World Cup Qualifiers.

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