2 January 2018

Uganda: Bit By Bit, Fufa Is Laying the Ground for Future Progress

Kampala — After just four years of Moses Magogo as president of Federation of Football Associations (Fufa), the system of governance has shifted from one that heavily relied on a few individuals to a broad-based and constitutional one.

Although Magogo has twice won the election unchallenged since Lawrence Mulindwa handed him the baton in 2013 - allegations of unfair laws only favouring him abound. At the start, he was largely unpopular with his critics suggesting he created the mess Mulindwa found himself into. This greatly undermined his legitimacy.

When he launched his work-plan code-named 'IFET' - Internal Organisation, Funds, External Relations and communications, and Technical, many called it a joke.

His manifesto was centered on accountability, youth and women football development, making the Uganda Cranes brand wider and luring more corporate sponsorship into the game among others.

More jeers were to welcome him when he announced that Uganda would play at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) finals.

Surprisingly, Fufa is now rated highly in terms of corporate governance and strategically, Magogo's modern actions could be laying groundwork for future good times in football.

Project Cameroon

Project Cameroon 2019 is alive after breaking the jinx as Uganda played at Gabon 2017. 24 teams instead of 16 will play at the final tournament in Cameroon and Uganda is in a winnable Group L. The Cranes leads the group after one round and it's unthinkable to miss the finals in a fair group that also has Tanzania, Lesotho and Cape Verde.

Imagine all 12 group winners and runners-up will play in Cameroon!

Magogo doesn't think this came by luck.

"We laid down our plans on paper and started to work on them. Some claim it's luck but I disagree," Magogo asserted in an interview.

Like he confessed, his administration's efforts have been characterised by concerted efforts on managing people's mindsets.

Fufa has offered several training opportunities to coaches, administrators, club owners, referees and even journalists. All football stakeholders have at least once or twice been at the football Mecca at Njeru Technical Centre.

Magogo's early years saw few trained coaches and now many hold CAF licences. The eventual transition of how things might look like is still dim but at club level, there is some sanity. He has turned what looked like impossible into opportunities. At the very basic, every club has a CEO, a youth team and licenced coach. All within minimum CAF requirements.

coaches seeking these training opportunities are increasingly concerned about the costs but Magogo says it's the credible way to attain badges.

Magogo boasts of helping to grow revenue especially to the national team from a meagre Shs300m in 2013 to Shs 10 billion. Government is also increasingly supporting all major costs of the national team. But this is funding come to only one national team as the others; Crested Cranes, U23, U17, U20, Sand Cranes and U20 girls are yawning.

"As football we are not doing enough but there is money to earn in the country," he admitted.

Fufa's budget was increased from Shs4bn to Shs17bn yet FIFA funding also increased significantly through the FIFA Forward Football Development Programme. Uganda has access to 750,000 US dollars (Shs2.7bn) per year for football projects such as pitches, competitions and women's football.

It's from such funding that two stadiums will be constructed at Kadiba in Mengo and in Lugazi. In addition, 500,000 US dollars (Shs1.8bn) is available every year for administration costs.

Yet still, clubs are crawling in terms of finances with the biggest share of money earned from broadcast sponsors Azam TV going to middlemen and Fufa itself. The ambiguities associated with that TV deal has recently unearthed a lot of mistrust.

"When we fully activate the Clubs Pro agenda, we shall be able to reposition the business outlook of our clubs. We shall stat with Express and I am sure everyone else will follow suit," he reasoned.

"It's a war of resources in the market. If we don't fight as football, we shall not get what we deserve. But we have to be organised," he added.

Magogo thinks in terms of having more competition to be able to develop talent.

This week, Fufa will bring another competition, 'The Drum', to add it on the Azam Super League, Uganda Cup, Big League, Regional Leagues, the district leagues, the Juniors League and the Women Elite League.

"Competitions help players mature. We are still below the required number of games our players should be involved in, but we are heading there," he added.

Despite the promising landscape, Magogo thinks the level of competition is still below the golden years of the 1990's. However, the strategies laid down are setting the scene for future glory of football in Uganda.


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