21 August 2017

Uganda: Chan Win Evidence That League Is On Right Path

Photo: The Observer
Cranes interim coach Moses Basena, second left, and his players celebrate after dumping Rwanda to qualify for 2018 Chan finals
editorial

On Saturday, Uganda Cranes were beaten 2-0 in Rwanda but advanced to next year's Africa's Nations Championship with a 3-2 aggregate victory.

The latest qualification means that Uganda have now made it to four successive editions of a tournament that is eight years old.

To advance to the continental edition of the Africa Cup of Nations for home best players, Uganda saw off South Sudan and Rwanda.

Those are not two terrifying opponents and harder tasks await Cranes in Kenya next January where the fifth edition will be staged.

What is beyond question, however, is that the Uganda Premier League is growing in leaps and bounds.

The hard work put in by the country's topflight teams is being rewarded by the Cranes' habitual participation in Chan.

With every passing day a semblance of professionalism is being embraced by club owners and managers in the UPL and long may it continue.

Of course it helps the country's fortunes that League and Cup champions KCCA enjoyed a fantastic run on the continent and no doubt that experience helped stand Uganda in good stead.

But teams like Vipers, Onduparaka, SC Villa, URA, Bright Stars and Proline among others have got great lengths to embrace modern ways of club management while investing more in player and staff personnel.

There are still many rough edges in the way things are being done but slowly but surely, the UPL and its board can pat themselves on the back.

Today there is a technical report released every post-season to study the trends of play employed by clubs in the league. A few clubs have also gone great lengths to employ statisticians to study the technical detail of their game. And increasingly clubs have appreciated the need to empower coaches and let them go about their work with minimal interference.

The sponsorships at KCCA, Vipers, Onduparaka, SC Villa and Bright Stars are evidence that the game is now saleable.

Rarely in football has a national team been strong when the league is a shambles.

This year Uganda continues to hold an impressive Caf and Fifa ranking after playing at the Africa Cup of Nations and the Cranes are looking good in both the on-going Fifa World Cup and Afcon qualifiers.

The Junior league introduced by Fufa has also ensured that clubs must nurture talent at U-17 level, youngsters who in years to come will be household names in the league and national team.

More work lies ahead but so far UPL are on right track.

The issue: Ugandan League

Our view: Rarely in football has a national team been strong when the league is a shambles. This year Uganda continues to hold an impressive Caf and Fifa ranking.

More on This

Cranes Qualify for 2018 Chan Despite 2-0 Loss

Uganda Cranes have qualified for the 2018 Total Africa Nations Championship despite a 2-0 to neighbours Rwanda. Read more »

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