Magogo’s Return and The Future of Ugandan Football
By Arinaitwe Rugyendo
On Saturday August 5th, a well-organized 93rd FUFA Elective General Assembly, at Kabalega Resort in Masindi, returned Eng. Moses Magogo as President for the next Four years.
In a poll that was conducted by FUFA’s Electoral Committee and witnessed on live screen by officials from the world football governing body, FIFA, and the one for the African region, CAF, Magogo garnered 69 votes out of the total 72 votes cast. Only one delegate voted against him with two votes being declared invalid.
In the same vein, the State Minister for Youth and Children Affairs, the vivacious Florence Nakiwala Kiyingi, was elected as a FUFA Vice President representing Club interests- an MP of sort for clubs- at FUFA House. She garnered 64 votes out of the 72 votes that were cast. 7 delegates voted against her and one vote was invalid.
Despite the temporary disruption brought about two court cases seeking an injunction to halt this electioneering process, the assembly was granted a lease of life by the Ugandan courts to go ahead and the delegates did not disappoint. They returned Magogo and a host of other vibrant young men and women.
There is a story behind all this. Magogo!
Under this young man, Ugandan football has experienced unprecedented attention from a section of the public that had previously given up on the game- the elite. He runs the game in a modern way. He pays attention to corporate practice, constant training and professionalization of the game.
He does this because he knows that the elite control the budgets. They control government. They also have the money to spend on games. He knows they had been utterly let down by endless football wrangles, fights and wanton corruption that bordered on the insane. He knows he must play smart and professional to attract them.
Without risking thesub-judice law, I am beginning to feel that even the Ugandan judiciary has gotten interested in these new developments in the game and want all wrangles settled on the pitches and football boardrooms- not the courtrooms! They are also football fans. They therefore know that endless wrangles can only hurt the game in the long term, even if they return victors and the vanquished on the floor of the courtrooms in the short term.
Having abandoned his Telecom Engineering career to make a contribution to the growth of Ugandan football several years ago, Magogo has ensured that Ugandan football returns to its glory of the 1970s.
Despite qualifying for the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) after a 38-year lull, Uganda is now ranked Number one in East Africa, Number 11 in Africa and Number 72 in the world. All this has happened under Magogo.
For the first time in recent history, informed figures by the professional IPSOS-Synovate research firm, the local Uganda Premier League that feeds into the Ugandan Cranes is now billed at Shs. 15 billion in terms of worth and value. This is up from around Shs. 5 billion two years ago. This means future sponsorship is going to be very big.
Uganda is now topping the tables at CHAN, AFCON and World Cup group stage qualifiers.
The Big League, Women football, Beach Football and FUTSOL are all showing signs of growth and increased democratized participation in the game.
There is also quite some good stability; corporate governance and the football administrators look smart and focused.
Football is now being discussed in boardrooms; top star hotels and has administrative structures similar to those we see in contemporary corporate companies. This is the stuff sane people; sane companies and futuristic sponsors want to see being done.
My only advice to Mr. Magogo is to work hard towards reconciliation in Ugandan football and ensuring the image of Ugandan football is protected from all sorts of negative energy.
Otherwise, Ugandan football is now something worth talking about and also being part of. I call upon all the good and patriotic elite out there to come and join us on the journey to seeing Ugandan football return to its deserved place- The Hall of Fame of world Football.
The writer is the Chairman of the Uganda Premier League and can be reached on 0752 466 778 and on Twitter: @RugyendoQuotes