My previous article and personal opinion about Uganda qualifying to the World Cup has generated a series of interpretations and interest. Many have seen my perspective while others have taken their own context but variance in opinion should generate debate and consequently solutions. I have achieved my objective of debate.
However, I thought it is prudent that I take another step to elucidate.
My opinion in the article is that Uganda as a country, we are not ready to go to the World Cup. As a country I refer to the mindset and efforts of Ugandans in our different would be contributions to the cause. Nonetheless, the Uganda Cranes as a team has defied the odds and technically proven we are ready to beat the best team on the continent. I strongly believe in FUFA, the coaches, and players
Qualification to the World Cup is not for the individuals playing or managing the team but a host of values to our nation. The Socio-economic value of this achievement is immeasurable and cannot be monetized nor causally discussed.
It generates a lot of intense international media for our country for a period of not less than 8 months and will always be used as an identity many years to come. This will trigger foreign investment and boost tourism.
The sense of patriotism it generates for the citizens will definitely yield more productivity for the economy.
Football and the individual players will directly earn millions of dollars in forex which will catapult the turnaround of the sports industry in Uganda going professional and consequently sport will become an economic activity for the youth
Now what is frustrating is that despite these huge values, as a country we don’t seem to appreciate the price and value of the opportunity we hold in our hands. FUFA, the Players, and the Coaches have done their part to this point. I have appreciated our Sponsors, Paying Fans and the government for the previous investment but all this will come to nothing if the final bend is not financed. Preparing for the World Cup Qualification is a huge cost that many Federations in Africa cannot finance. Everywhere else it is government
We have also proven that on all occasions we have been financed, results have come by irrespective of the source of funding. We always struggle when we lack funds. We compromise many preparation and logistics plans to fit in the budget. This ultimately affects results. We should stop thinking in terms of luck. At this level, it is performance obtained from preparations and you can see only small moments separate us but they normally go to the more prepared
I, however, wish to address in detail 4 issues that have emerged from my opinion and article;
There are those who genuinely have seen this as a demotivation to the players but there is no bigger demotivation to these players like looking behind and don’t see the nation behind them. They have thrown their bodies on the line for our country but as the fans, corporate world and Government have we responded in comparative to the competition we face? Words of “Kola ng’omuddu olye ng’omwami” will not provide pension to these players one day when they quit football. It is better we address the challenge than pretense. Let the fans pay and fill the stadium, let more corporate organisations market their brands using the match and team and let the government from the consolidated fund finance the activities of preparation and motivation. In the modern game World over Players are fulltime professionals working for money and are motivated or demotivated by what they take home not by words
2) Gate Fees
In some circles, this debate has been brought down to gate fees. First and foremost we should not confuse ourselves that gate collection can be a solution to the cost of the National Team. This is lowering the level of debate. Secondly, pricing is a science and we have the experience and statistics over 12 years and lowering fees does not necessarily bring in more fans. Logically if it is that easy don’t you think FUFA would wish to get more collections but are we that daft not to think like many? Scientific proof is that even the discounted tickets are not bought as much.
Lowering entrance fees only makes it easier for football fans but not a significant increase in numbers. We sell passion and this is not like buying a product for use where one could choose to forego or take a lower quality. The typical football fans who will watch the Uganda Cranes any day is about 10,000 come rain come shine come cost. The full stadium is only for the occasions of the 3rd home and final match with hope to qualify to AFCON.
3) Match Fixing
There also those who have interpreted my comments as having sold the match. First and foremost such people forget that we are football fans like any other before we become officials and players. We love our country and we wish our heroic performances bring happiness to our citizens. Secondly using logic, how does an administrator fix a result? We don’t get onto the pitch or are we suggesting we command the players to fix the match. This is very insensitive to what these players have given to this country in the circumstances. This is not the love they need. On more specific note, these people raising such baseless claims have no idea of the World and Life Legacy we stand to get as officials and players if Uganda qualified to the World Cup. Directly Football and Players stand to earn millions of US Dollars with qualification. No amount of money can be exchanged. Let us ignore this street talk and think of solutions
When we call upon the nation to understand the cost of managing this team, there are some voices that FUFA is not accountable and it is the reason the government is not contributing. How I wish we got this comment from Government itself instead of individuals who are not the government. I should put it clearly that we submitted the required national team areas of support and expected income to government categorically separated as 2016/7 and 2017/8 Financial Periods. Since February 2017 we engaged government on these matters and we have answered every question asked. We currently have certificates of accountabilities issued by the government for every coin we received. There is no unaccounted for monies. So those raising such issues are just buying cheap propaganda. Using logic who in this country can spend government money without accountability and apprehension?
I am sure many once again will attempt to spin or misinterpret or understand this article in their own context but the fact is we have the experience of managing the Uganda Cranes to success hitherto unheard of and therefore we believe we should be listened to and judged better.
I call upon the fans to pay and watch the match in numbers, the corporate World to use this match and team to market their brands and build their sales volumes and the government to finance the national team. This is the only way we can respond to the challenges that the team faces not name calling. The best gift government can give Ugandans in the circumstances is supporting the World Cup cause.
All written here and in the previous article is my personal opinion and not that FUFA
It is Our Game, It is Our Country
Eng. Moses Magogo
CAF Executive Committee