PROFILING: The journey & experience of new Uganda Cranes head coach Paul Put

Kampala, (UG): Uganda’s football governing body, FUFA, Thursday announced the appointment of Belgian international, Paul Put as the new head coach of Uganda Cranes, replacing Serbian maestro, Milutin Sredojević alias ‘Micho’ on a two-year deal till 2025.

Put’s predecessor Micho was sacked in September against the backdrop of Uganda’s failure to make it to the group stages of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations which will take place in Ivory Coast come January 2024.

In a statement unveiling the new Crane’s gaffer, FUFA President Eng Moses Magogo Hashim said the federation received over 150 applications including two native coaches, but Put’s wealth of experience saw him beat the others to the main job.

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“FUFA rolled out an application process and we got over 150 coaches including 2 Ugandans who applied for the job. After thorough analysis, the FUFA Executive zeroed down on Mr Paul Put and we believe he will do a good job,” Eng Magogo said while addressing the press conference on Thursday, in Mengo.

Put will now take over the mantle from Morley Beyekwaso who has been interim head coach of the Uganda Cranes since the departure of Sredojević in September this year.

But who is Paul Put?

Formerly head coach of East African neighbours Kenya, Paul Put, 67, brings to Uganda a wealth of experience garnered from coaching various African national teams. The Belgian manager brings a rich background, having worked with several African national teams previously.

His coaching journey on the African continent began in 2008 when he assumed the reins of the Gambian national team, a tenure that 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.

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

Previous Head Coaches of the Uganda Cranes

  • Alan Rogers (1965–1966)
  • Robert Kiberu (1966–1969)
  • Burkhard Pape (1969–1972)
  • David Otti (1973–1974)
  • Otto Westerhoff (1974–1975)
  • Peter Okee (1976–1981, 1983)
  • Jaberi Bidandi Ssali (1982)
  • George Mukasa (1984–1985)
  • Barnabas Mwesiga (1986–1988)
  • Polly Ouma (1989–1995)
  • Timothy Ayieko (1995–1996)
  • Asuman Lubowa (1996–1999)
  • Paul Hasule (1999, 2001–2003)
  • Harrison Okagbue (1999–2001)
  • Pedro Pasculli (2003)
  • Leo Adraa (2003–2004)
  • Mike Mutebi (2004)
  • Mohammed Abbas (2004–2006)
  • Csaba László (2006–2008)
  • Bobby Williamson (2008–2013)
  • Milutin Sredojević (2013–2017, 2021–2023)
  • Moses Basena (2017, Interim)
  • Sébastien Desabre (2017–2019)
  • Abdallah Mubiru (2019, Interim)
  • Johnny McKinstry (2019–2021)
  • Abdallah Mubiru (2021, Interim)
  • Morley Beyekwaso (2023, Interim)
  • Paul Put (2023- )

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