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Football Administrators Should Instead Engage Government

My Late Grandmother used to tell many folk stories but there was this one I remember vividly, that the Grasshoppers’ Mr. Right was the sun and would do anything to reach their Mr. Right. That is why up to now grasshoppers are trapped by giving them a false sun. While trapped in a container that is when they realize they are in a wrong place and should fight to find their way out. Instead of common effort, they resort to biting each other. I find this very synonymous with sports administrators in Uganda today

FIFA's Mamelodi meeting USL and FUFA officials

For starters, by 2004, Ugandan Football in general and FUFA in particular was synonymous with a ragtag downtown setting led by people clueless about the convergence of professional football and modern business practices, hugely indebted organization, a laughing stock shunned by players and the entire public with total collapse of rule of football laws.

Not because I have been involved in the current administration but a lot of achievements have been made in the football industry compared to the situation in 2004. In very difficult circumstances, (Uganda is the only country where the National Football teams are funded by the Football  Association and not government in the whole world),  FUFA has converted Uganda Cranes from participants to competitors, built the image of the Uganda Cranes to the number one sporting brand in Uganda. A number of players have come through the ranks now ready to replace the old guards. A few challenges though still exist including qualification to AFCON and it should not be used as the overall rating but a mere key performance indicator.

For example the euphoria that was built by FUFA around the Uganda Cranes in the wake of the Uganda-Kenya game did not result into qualification to the anguish of us all but with HE the President being usurped by the power of football euphoria of the moment did not only visit the camp but has ordered the Ministry of Finance to include an annual vote in the national budget of 350 Million UGX into football for the next financial year and thereafter. This is the first of its kind ever and will only get bigger and is here to stay. H.E the President has further directed the Rt Hon. Prime Minister to engage FUFA and the Ministry of Education and Sports on how government can help improve the sport in Uganda. Isn’t this a milestone achievement we should toast to? FUFA has eventually caught the attention of the powers that are

The state of sports grounds-Mbale Stadium

FUFA and generally the football industry do not have a capacity to own and construct football infrastructure. Some of the legislation is very old and not conforming to the times but in our country setup, how much can FUFA change this status-quo. Furthermore, the current economic turbulence has affected every walk of life and football is a recipient of the effects of the challenge. There is general moral collapse and patriotism in every walk of life in this country is at its lowest. The use of drugs by youth is getting more sporadic and where does football get these players from? In our very society we live in

As the Uganda Cranes fell short again by a goal against Kenya to qualify for the AFCON 2012, a sizeable number has been defining this as failure and consequently need to change management at FUFA the body responsible for the development and preparation of the team. In football, many analysts will attribute this to a number of reasons and majorly to FUFA. My opinion is that, yes FUFA is responsible for Development to bring in players and also the preparation and co-ordination of activities to obtain a result but there are also factors that are beyond FUFA. For example the factors affecting society are not considered in this blame game yet football does not live in isolation. We have changed Football Administrations since 1978 using AFCON qualification as a yard stick but when are we going to wake up to scientific analysis of the matters?

 As FUFA, we would appreciate a positive debate onto matters to discuss with government to better the sport other than uncalled for blame games. How can we create long lasting solutions with the support of government now that FUFA has created an environment that has led to an audience with the highest office in the Country? What are the issues of concern that government should be engaged with to stimulate an otherwise sleeping giant of an industry?

 For Government, there is everything to achieve when Uganda starts a fully professional sports industry.

 The Diagram below demonstrates in summary the 11 players on a football pitch that the Government and indeed Uganda would benefit from running a vibrant fully professional sports industry

 In my opinion, we need government in the following areas;


It is now evident that national disaster is about to happen now that Namboole cannot accommodate the Uganda Cranes fans and it is also true that the upcoming 2014 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers staring in June 2012 shall not be hosted at Namboole for not having numbered seats which is a minimum requirement. All playing grounds in the country are being overrun by “developers” and no replacements are being made.

It is high time the GoU thought of modernizing Namboole and constructing a bigger and Modern Stadium like the neighbouring countries have done. Centralization of sports facilities such as Bugembe, Mbale, Kakyeka, Pece etc under an authority in the Ministry of Sports with government financial support to refurbish would take us miles. It is possible for the GoU to obtain a grant from Development Agencies like it was done for the Local Markets

Click Here to see the Rwanda Government and FIFA Synergy in infrastructure development


The Current Sports Legislation was done in 1964 and does not just fit in the modern times. The element of the professional approach to sports is missing. As we struggle to legislate the new Oil and ICT sectors, there is a new emerging professional sports industry than needs attention as well

 The Court of Arbitration of Sports as recognized by the laws of the republic of Uganda and to which all sports federations would subscribe to in their own statutes would take us miles from the court squabbles that never cease in sports

 Investment Incentives

There have been many tax holidays and land extended to investments that the GoU considers to be budding and projected to accommodate many people in form of employment and/or business opportunities. How different is a fully professional Sports industry in Uganda different from these?

Investor Conditions

Elsewhere, investment license carry conditions of community social responsibility and sometimes sports sponsorships and funding attract reduced tax obligations. This pushes the private sector into funding the sports sector

 Sports Policy

Representation of Uganda on the international scale should attract well stipulated rewards and facilitation directly by government. We should move away from rewarding athletes who have won accolades but we are seen nowhere while they prepare and it should not be the discretion of persons in position to reward but a policy and known processes of preparations and reward

 Financial Support

The various sports federations require direct sports funding. Development of their human resource and their own administration structures would benefit from this funding. National Teams or Teams representing Uganda in the international competitions would require financial Support from Government

 Hosting an International Competition

We are a nation and we can do it. We have seen so many nations poorer than us doing it. Burkina Faso, Equatorial Guinea, Rwanda etc have hosted international competitions and we have also hosted CHOGM. Is it not high time Uganda bided to host an international football competition? In the current setup, Uganda cannot even host CECAFA because FUFA would remain in millions of debts and why take weight but with government support, Uganda may be with Kenya or Tanzania, we can apply to host the Africa Cup of Nations 2019

 About the Author: Magogo is the Vice president of FUFA in charge of Administration and a FIFA certified Administration Instructor. Besides Football, he is a professional Engineer working with African Development Bank in Kampala City. He will be posting a weekly Topical Opinion of matters of subject every Friday)

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