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Revealed: Why Lumala and Bakka didn’t travel back to Uganda

Abdu Lumala takes on a Burkina Faso player | FUFA media

The Federation of Uganda Football Associations (FUFA) devised a plan that would see the Uganda Cranes fly to Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso and then back to Kampala comfortably and with the utmost ease.

The cranes had two games against Burkina Faso and Malawi, four days apart of each other. With the Cranes having to travel over 5000 miles in between those games.

FUFA chattered a Uganda Airlines flight that would transport the players to and back.

The Cranes Burkina Faso on Wednesday night and quickly embarked on their journey back to Kampala ahead of the Malawi game which comes exactly 366 days since they last played in front of their own fans.

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As the Cranes arrived at the Entebbe International Airport on Thursday morning, there were two notable absentees from the team that featured in Burkina Faso.

Winger Abdul Lumala and Alexis Bakka did not make the return journey to Kampala, despite both featuring against Burkina Faso. Lumala played the entire 90 minutes, while Bakka came on as a 90th-minute substitute.

Question marks were raised about the whereabouts of the pair, and whether their absence from the returning contingent rules them out of the Malawi game.

Football-256 got underneath the nitty gritty to reveal the reason why the duo did not fly to Kampala.

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According to our sources, the duo left Uganda for Sweden around 2012, under the Kampala Junior Team (KJT) program, and have lived in the Scandinavian nations since.

When the players travelled to Sweden, they went AWOL and sought asylum from the Swedish Authorities.

They were granted asylum in the country but were given an initial period after which they were to be given citizenship.

Why are they able to travel for Cranes games away from Kampala?

The process of granting asylum in Sweden takes six months to one year, after which the successful applicants are issued with a residence permit, which can be renewed over time.

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The duo were granted asylum in Sweden. And have since lived as asylum seekers in the country.

The permit allows you to access other nations but not your country of origin until atleast the reason as to why you sought asylum is rectified.

“Lumala and Bakka were missing certain documents that allow them to travel back to Uganda,” FUFA’s Head of communication Ahmed Hussein said when hosted during a radio show on Thursday night.

“As a federation, we were not privy of this and the time to the game cannot allow us to process the relevant documents,” Hussein added.

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After a period of five years, asylum seekers qualify to apply for citizenship and that gives them access to any country all over the world.

Lumala and Bakka are close to finalizing the process of getting Swedish citizenship, and according to our source, by early next year, they will have finalized the process and will, therefore, be able to fly back home.

For now, though, the pair can only represent Uganda in games outside its borders. In the absence of Lumala and Bakka, Kazakhstan based William Luwagga and Vipers SC forward Bayo Fahad may be called upon to fill their void respectively.

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