The last time I wrote, it was my opinion as to why since 1978, Uganda has not qualified to the finals of AFCON. We have changed personnel from Administrators to players to coaches to ministers and this has not fixed the problem. Why are we still bent at calling for names and heads when naturally change will occur by vote, age, expiry of terms and contracts and God forbid death?
Many critics have gone for their wishes instead of the merits of my opinion. I said, there are problems sports should fix but there are bigger issues that affect results that sports cannot fix and everyone is burying his head over these glaring issues. The issues of infrastructure, funding, taxation, policy and law are urgently required to transform this industry.
I am taking a personal crusade to enlighten the masses on the unthought-of areas and not that I am not aware that as the sports industry there is a lot internally we need to address For example, why are people bent to qualification as the ultimate to football development? My belief is that qualification is just a sign of development but not development itself. The day we run a professional sports industry in Uganda, qualification and medals at world meets will be a given. However even if we qualified now with the status quo, there is no guarantee we shall qualify again Instead of bickering, we should task Government to look at Sports as more of an industry than a recreational activity.
When the industry engages the Parliament, the Executive and the Judiciary, it should be about creating a sector to employ the youth. We need to raise issues of curving out a new sector or industry that will engage young people. Unfortunately, when sports people engage government, it is about who is the right party to run the league, the federation should go; we need tickets for an international meet etc. These are very myopic issues that government may and usually does not respond to.
We need to educate government of the benefits of a vibrant sports industry to government and to the people of Uganda.
With a vibrant sports industry, the youth shall be fully engaged in useful energy consuming activities instead of being taken advantage of by politicians in demonstrations that will never benefit the youth themselves. Government should be reminded of the effect of youth and more so redundant ones like what happened in Arab world. With these energy consumption activities, the youth will be drawn away from crime, drugs abuse (outlawed in sports), and HIV.
With a fully sporting nation, many people will be engaged and certainly the national health budget shall be cut. We shall have able bodied and a fit population to support the economy and expenditure on certain diseases will be reduced.
There are many opportunities that will arise. The sporting clubs, the media, the facilities, the corporate sponsors, industries, the sports equipment business sector, etc will not only employ young Ugandans but will also increase on the tax base for government. There is a likely massive investment by the private sector in the industry after the government kick-in efforts.
The youth in sports clubs will undertake informal education to up bring useful citizens. Sports is about regulations, discipline and education and many who may not have gotten the opportunity to see a blackboard may break the vicious cycle of poverty in their family lines.
With numerous athletes that the professional sports industry shall produce, Uganda will boast of professionals who will earn forex from other economies and spend it in our economy. The likes of JJ Okocha, and Kanu (who saw very few blackboards) have massive investments of hospitals and banks not only to provide employment but also a bigger tax base and a service to the nation. All they did was playing football
There is not going to be a better methodology to preach patriotism in this country other than using sports. Whenever the national football team converges at Namboole, it has nothing to do with religion, tribe or political affiliation. When Kiproitich won the Olympic Gold Medal after 40 years, no one wanted to know which tribe or religion he is. It was the national anthem that was sung for the whole World. I was surprised while in Tunisia for a shop attendant to ask where I come from and he did not know about Uganda until another person in the shop talked of, Akii Bua, SC Villa with Club Africaine, Inzikuru and Kiproitich. It was all about sports. Instead of paying millions of dollars to advertise on CNN about the tourism sector in Uganda, Sports will do. Kenya is known for the long distance runners but this has also boosted its tourism sector
We therefore need to remind (not request) government that we are Ugandans, who pay taxes and need services from government and we need to educate government on the above and more benefits of a vibrant sports industry
My opinion goes further to call upon all serious sports minds to a forum to unselfishly brainstorm on strategies of how we can engage government on more meaningful developmental issues that the sports industry cannot do. We are organized, we can get a forum and government will deliver. Name calling should be abandoned for the previous generation. Can you join the revolution?
FUFA Vice President