Juuko’s early retirement leaves bitter taste

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Juuko's early retirement leaves bitter taste
Juuko's early retirement leaves bitter taste

Africa-Press – Uganda. A four-paragraph letter addressed to Fufa and dated January 13 carried the colossal message – defender Murushid Juuko had called it quits with the national team after a seven-year attachment.

The trend of senior Uganda Cranes players that featured prominently in the 2017 and 2019 Afcon editions tendering in their resignation letters is gradually becoming a habit.

First it was skipper Denis Onyango, midfielders Hassan Wasswa and Mike Azira and now Express hard as nails defender Murushid Juuko.

Although the timing of his letter aroused suspicion, the content tonation seemed well thought. It wasn’t a rushed decision.

“I believe I have served the country enough and it’s time for me to call it a day with Uganda Cranes.

“This has not been a simple decision for me to make but together with my family and management we think this is the right step for me to take,” the letter received by Fufa read in parts.

Throughout his time as a diligent servant of the national team, Juuko has been a man of few words and hardly offered big interviews but here he was speaking from his heart. He lets his actions do the talking.

“If I told you as a boy that i would have played for my country over fifty caps and lined up against the biggest national teams, I would have told you it was a fantasy,” Juuko, who has played at Vipers, SC Victoria University (defunct), Simba (Tanzania), Wydad Casablanca (Morocco and now at Express, revealed.

Since ascending to the senior national team in 2014, against Seychelles, Juuko has been the rock on which the Cranes defence was built; ably replacing departed Andy Mwesigwa and partnering a couple of defenders to great satisfaction.

Exit signs

In his late 20s, Juuko was expected to be a pillar in Cranes coach Micho Sredojevic’s promised transition and rebuilding plans but hell broke loose in September when he was shown red for frivolously elbowing a Malian opponent in the World Cup qualifying match at St Mary’s Stadium-Kitende.

He was fined Shs20m by Caf and subsequently left out of the national team engagements. At first there was lingering hope that the fine would be cleared with a shared contribution from Fufa and the rest of the Cranes squad but it never lived to fruition.

To earn back his slot in the team, he had to cough the money.

What next?

The Cranes centre-back realm is one that has never lacked, with players like Bevis Mugabi, Halid Lwaliwa, Timoth Awany, Enoch Walusimbi, Kenneth Semakula and a host of others ready to take the chance.

That said, Juuko’s resolute attitude, man-marking, defence command and physical gift will be missed as Micho and the ilk grapple to reinstall a known football philosophy in the national team.

With a tinge of sadness, Juuko thanked all football stakeholders that have toiled with him and promised Cranes great endeavors as he concentrates on the Red Eagles’ role.

Murushid Juuko at a glance

Date of birth

14 April 1994 (age 27)

Place of birth

Entebbe, Uganda

Height

1.85 m (6 ft 1 in)[1]

Position(s)

Centre-back

Club information

Current team

Express FC

Senior career*

Years

Team

Apps

(Gls)

2009–2012

Bunamwaya

32

(2)

2013–2014

Victoria University

36

(5)

2014–2019

Simba

149

(7)

2019

Wydad

0

(0)

2020–

Express FC

National team‡

2011–2012

Uganda U20

2

(0)

2013

Uganda U23

4

(0)

2014–

Uganda

39

(1)

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