The Observer (Kampala)

18 September 2012

Uganda: Robert Madoi - League Mess - Ball Still in Clubs' Courts

Photo: New Vision
The Cranes: Uganda's National Football team

opinion

It has never been in doubt that Ugandan football is such a travesty, but the standoff between Uganda Super League Limited (USLL) and local football governing body, Fufa, has in many respects presented a new nadir.

Ugandan football fans keep waking up to revelations that boggle the mind as much as they wrench the gut. It's as if they are being subjected to a ropey sitcom yet they intended to watch a blockbuster.

Oddly enough, the characters of the ropey sitcom have been holding out their heads like they deserve an Emmy yet they deserve its antithesis for all intents and purposes. The other day we woke up to news that fans of a (new?) club that splintered from record league champions SC Villa, and will be turning out in the Fufa Super League at the tail-end of September, had congregated to fundraise money.

The exuberant fans ended up amassing a paltry Shs 180,000 after passing around a basket in a fashion reminiscent of the Stone Age. Oh, the Stone Age! I love that famous dictum that reminds us that the Stone Age didn't end because the world ran out of stone.

It ended, the dictum posits, because the need to make progressive strides was of the essence. Ugandan football, though, would rather cling onto the metaphorical Stone Age. It's proclivity to embrace an era that is a throwback to the past is solely because it has way too many fossils for one's liking.

These fossils have displayed a brand of thinking that the word archaic would not begin to describe. It's a given that football associations worth the while do not run their football leagues since this arduous task would leave their plates full. In fact, it is on this reasoning that the Jinja Declaration, which birthed the Uganda Super League (USL), was premised.

Why then would we choose to make the proverbial two steps back for the one in front by clinging onto to stones to make things happen?

It makes no sense whichever way you want to look at it. If it makes sense to you, then you sure as hell are a fossil. You are a fossil because you don't want to evolve - you would rather be trapped in a time warp. Sadly, this time warp isn't going to bode well for Ugandan football. If anything, it is going to leave the sport going round in circles. This vicious circle will do more than leave us dizzy.

It will nauseate us as viciously as it could ever do. So, it is imperative that we stop kidding ourselves (because we sure are) and start doing things the way they ought to be done. The topflight league's association with Fufa has to be broken because precedents - not least the English Premier League - show that the game blossoms if this is followed to the letter.

Whether USLL deserves to run the topflight is a question that will no doubt split opinion. What isn't in question is that for the topflight league to go places, it will need for its member clubs to showcase more collegial harmony as aggression.

The member clubs should be cognizant of the fact that they are in a box position to call the shots. Without them speaking in unison, nothing can be done; with them producing a singular voice, everything is possible. If member clubs are to better their product and consequently improve their kitty by attracting sponsors, they need to radically change their modus operandi.

They need to make choices that will better their bottom line as opposed to those at the whim of character X or Y. Your humble columnist would like to believe that member clubs of the topflight football league are savvy enough to understand that the ropey sitcom that Fufa and USLL have contrived to fashion has done enough to turn fans and sponsors away from cashing in.

Why then have they chosen to watch with arms folded as they are used like pawns on the chessboard when they should instead be kings or, at the very least, queens? Maybe the clubs are no savvy enough. Maybe they are their worst enemies.

They will need to wake up and smell the coffee before things become irreparable. It's not too late; the ball is still in their courts!

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