That Uganda Cranes love free return tickets for International friendlies is no secret.
The obvious stealthy though is Cranes has turned down an invitation to take part in a five-nation 2013 Philippines Peace Cup in October not because Filipinos are not competitive enough but for all-expenses paid friendlies with war-ravaged Iraq.
The Federation of Uganda Football Associations (FUFA) Chief Executive Officer Edgar Watson confirmed that they received the invitation from the Philippines Football Federation (PFF) for the event to take place from October 11-15.
“We decided to communicate that we cannot take part because it was very bad timing for us since we have other engagements,” said Watson.
Watson said the Philippines were ready to foot the Cranes logistical bills. “We have a very busy schedule and actually our team will be playing Iraq next week in Amman, Jordan,” explained Watson.
He explained that although the tournament to be held at Bacolod City would have helped the Cranes prepare for the 2013 Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup and the 2014 African Nations Championship, it was also an expensive trip in-terms of the return air tickets.
With Uganda out of the tournament, another Cecafa member nation Rwanda is likely to take part in the event.
The PFF general secretary Edwin Gastanes said they are finalizing negotiations with Rwanda and they are hopeful everything will be settled to have the latter compete in the tournament.
The official also said Afghanistan and Burundi are the other possible opponents.
The Filipino Booters, currently ranked 141st in the World, won the inaugural Peace Cup crown-their first international title in almost a century.