Whilst watching the Senegalese stars saunter around their luxury hotel with the assurance of future Presidents, and the swagger of gangster rappers, I did a quick calculation.
I worked out that in one week, Mohammed Diame earns what this entire Uganda Cranes squad earns in roughly one month. Tomorrow, West Ham United star Diame will go toe to toe with Tony Mawejje of unfashionable Icelandic club IBV, and Hassan Wasswa of KCC.
The striking differences in the fortunes of the Senegal and Uganda players, do not end in central midfield. Unlike any of the Cranes players, every member of the Senegal squad currently plays in a respectable European league! The History student in me began contemplating just why this is...
When it comes to producing top footballers, Senegal boasts enormous advantages over Uganda. Its nearer to football's historical knowledge base, Europe, and also close to neighbouring West African football powerhouses. Whilst Uganda have been whipping Burundi and Rwanda at CECAFA, Senegal have traditionally had to raise their game to keep in touch with their local rivals.
The natural physique of West Africans also helps; for the 99.9 percent of clubs incapable of perfect tiki tika, big players are preferable to small ones. Hence European clubs' traditional recruitment of enormous hulking great defensive midfielders, from West Africa, and ignoring the more slender East Africans.
Senegalese football has also benefited enormously from their diaspora. Footballing icons such as Patrick Vieira, with Senegalese heritage have raised the profile of the country, and used their experience and knowledge to help raise football standards.
Most importantly, Senegal's shock win over France in the 2002 World Cup announced to the footballing world that Senegal can produce players who can compete at the highest level. Since then, trailblazers such as Abdoulaye Faye, Papa Bouba Diop and El Hadj Diouf have proved their worth, making Senegalese's players hot commodities.
Okwi does his thing away against Angola where he scored in the draw.
It is for these reasons I suspect that if Emma Okwi was Senegalese, he would certainly be playing in a good European league, as would Godfrey Walusimbi and Hassan Wasswa, and Andy.... And if it was Hamis Kiiza clean through on goal instead of M'Baye Niang in that fateful Champions League semi-final, I suspect he would have coolly slotted it under the keeper with trademark composure, instead of clumsily hitting the post... Ok, now I am just dreaming, but on a serious note, it is too simple to say that supposed higher ability levels are the only reason that Senegal's players are enjoying more success in Europe that Uganda's.
Former Cranes boss Bobby Williamson once told me that if he was to take over at a Scottish Premier League team then he would sign all the top Cranes players in a flash. Sadly, he is now at Gor Mahia of Kenya.
So, we will never know how a team of Ugandans would have fared in the SPL, or if Hamis Kiiza would have scored in that classic match. There are no individual tests that will tell us if Mohammed Diame is really 105,000 USD a week better than Tony Mawejje.
However, should the Cranes have their 'Japan and South Korea' moment and qualify for Brazil 2014, more opportunities will open up for not only this, but also the next generation of Ugandan players.
On paper, the stars of Senegal are the overwhelming favourites today. Since the exploits of their heroes in 2002, Senegalese players have been dining at the top table of world football. If the Cranes can win, it may well be time for some Ugandan stars to finally join them..'