I hope that the government listens to us and help sort out the sports problems which are mainly caused by inadequate funding. Politicians only remember sports when it is putting them in the lime light. For instance, president Museveni ‘stole the show’ when he hosted a function for the successful 2006 Commonwealth Games team in April 2006.
The government has remained detached from sports as far as I can remember. NCS is inadequately funded. The UOC is independent of government funds because it is funded by the Olympic solidarity. Only five athletic clubs are recognised in the country of almost 31 million people. Some Athletes decide not to return to Uganda when they go for training or conferences abroad because they see no future of sports in the country( as was the case in 1998 when two of them decided to remain in USA and sought asylum).
Organisations like The uganda Amateur Athletic Foundation(UAAF) are totally reliant on the poorly funded NCS though they sometimes get help from big compnaies such as MTN.
You are also right that Football is the best sport in the world. For me, it’s my best entertainment at the moment and i’m happy that my team(Chelsea FC) have now got 4 wins out of 4 games in the league. The way we recently battered Burnley and Sunderland was awesome. I just can’t wait for the next game. ManU were lucky over the weekend because Arsenal did not deserve to lose that game.
Back in Uganda, the Federation Uganda Football Association (FUFA) where my former headmaster, Hajji Abbasi Kawase Mukasa is an influence, is one of the most ill-equipped and corrupt organizations in the country. Football and other sports is a big force in schools like Kibuli S.S because the administration there has got a budget for sports and they put too much effort in it. Sadly,I hear that sports in Kibuli S.S have declined ever since Hajji Kawase Mukasa was replaced as Headmaster.
Big national clubs such as Villa, Express and KCC are mainly funded by their companies and not the government or NCS. For instance, KCC is funded by Kampala City Council while Maji FC is funded by National Water Company.
Some people have tried to ‘clean’ FUFA by forming pressure groups such as ‘Save Our Soccer’ but they have had little impact. Some time in 2005, FUFA had to be suspended by FIFA till when Elections were held and Lawrence Mulindwa was elected as the new FUFA boss. FUFA has not been able to maintain good coaches such that the national coach had to be sacked in 2006 and compensated to the tune of $3500. Sports minister then, Charles Bakkabulindi, oversaw everything.
The truth is that there is no adequate funds to pay professional footballers, referees, and sports workers. Sport is almost dead in Uganda and few people are bothered with it. As for Boxing, I think it is one of the least funded sport in Uganda at the moment. The Uganda Amateur Boxing Federation had to withdraw from the Kings Cup organized by the International Boxing Association because there was no money to fund the whole thing.
Let’s hope that the next government, probably Besigye’s FDC, will look into this issue and galvanize sports again in Uganda.
Abbey Kibirige Semuwemba