SPORTS FEATURE: Uganda's ailing football

Football management in Uganda seemed to have stabilized in the last eight years under Lawrence Mulindwa as President of the Federation of Uganda Football Associations (FUFA).

But critics don't think so and they got more ammunition recently when Mulindwa suddenly resigned and is tipped to be replaced by his former deputy Moses Magogo.

National football team the Cranes has come so close yet remained so far in qualifying for the African Nations Cup since the 1978 finals.

So where is the problem; has FUFA really fulfilled its mandate of advancing football? Jordan Mubangizi now attempts some answers in this first part of a special three-part series.    

The Federation of Uganda Football Associations (FUFA) that was established by an Act of Parliament is the county's soccer governing body mandate to manage the game and promote it as well.

Uganda took to professional football in the 1950s, though not much talent was nurtured then or even tapped. Besides, the kind of expertise needed to organize and train for professional football was largely lacking.

At this time, colonialism was in its dying days but there was also an urgent need to have an umbrella body that would serve as the custodian of football.

The Uganda football league was then formed to manage the game. It was later renamed Uganda Football Association, but the need to conform to global demands meant that a federation was inevitable. This led to the birth of FUFA.

This brings together all football entities including the Super League clubs, the association of ex-internationals and the Uganda Referees Association.

FUFA'S mandate is not just about running leagues and managing the national team.

Other roles include nurturing talent, grooming football managers and referees, making laws regulations for the proper management of the game and ensuring generational transition of the game.

Since 1978, Uganda has not qualified for the continent's biggest tournament; the African Cup of Nations which many pundits think is the best measurement of FUFA's success. But national team the Cranes have on many occasions come so close to success that analysts cynically say being a passionate Cranes fan can expose one to a heart attack.

Every year, Ugandans wait anxiously for the day we shall again feature in continental and global football showpieces in vain.

The challenge is that as this long wait becomes agonizing, FUFA even appears more disorganized, showing that perhaps Uganda still has a long way to go. Where has FUFA gone wrong?

In the second part of our series, we examine the National Council of Sports Act of 1964, the Jinja Declaration of 2009 and the Kawaase report of 2011, to which some analysts attribute the confusion in Ugandan football.

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