In March 2019 Bank of Africa (BOA) published a job advert for sales positions.
One of the MUST have requirements for applicants, was having scored a minimum of a credit 3 in English and Mathematics in Uganda Certificate of Education (UCE).
On 30th April 2019, Bank of Uganda (BOU) published a job advert, MUST have for the BOU job advert was a first-class degree or second upper degree.
In those two examples, the two banks SET A MINIMUM STANDARD for applicants, whether someone with lower grades can do a better job or not, that’s an entirely different debate.
When Bolton Wanderers gained promotion to the English Premier League (EPL) for the 2001-02 season, they were outright relegation candidates.
By the end of the season, Bolton had survived relegation. Sam Allardyce who coached Bolton at that time had researched about opposition teams in EPL.
In his assessment, playing against opponents like Manchester United and Arsenal (the title contenders in that era) takes them less than 11 seconds to get in front of your goalkeeper when they (Man Utd and Arsenal) are defending a corner kick.
He made sure that during the preseason, players were fit enough to handle the demands of being able to sprint the entire length of a pitch in less than 11 seconds.
The demands to play in EPL are much more than just sprinting but in that case, a STANDARD had been set to compete in EPL.
Tottenham Hotspurs has recently built a new stadium to replace White Hart Lane.
One of the reasons for moving was to meet UEFA and EPL standards for having a pitch (playing surface) that measures the 105m length and 68m in width, of course, they had more reasons higher in priority for redeveloping the stadium but whichever reason, it still comes down to the need to meet set STANDARDS.
FC Barcelona has plans to redevelop Camp Nuo because, in its current state, Camp Nuo can’t match the STANDARDS set by Barcelona’s rivals in terms of matchday revenue and experience.
In the football-related examples from Bolton Wanders, Tottenham and Barcelona, the clear observation is the need to meet set standards led to development.
WHAT ARE THE STANDARDS IN UGANDAN FOOTBALL?
At the start of the 2018-19 Uganda Premier League (UPL) season, clubs were required to have green pitches, it’s common sense to have a green pitch (standard) for a football match because it helps to have good football, reduces injuries and makes it easier to officiate among many other reasons.
Paidha Black Angels (PBA) a club based in Zombo, West Nile couldn’t have their pitch ready. They decided to play home matches 90 kilo meters away in Arua.
The cost of transporting, feeding and accommodating players and club officials from Zombo to Arua can match the cost of making a football pitch green (at least for Ugandan football standards).
PBA was allowed to play in the league sharing a stadium with Onduparaka, by the time they returned to play (not yet a green pitch) in Zombo for the start of UPL second round, PBA was facing relegation and the pitch in Arua wasn’t green anymore.
In this scenario, a standard was set but wasn’t enforced which led to reduced standards.
PBA was allowed to play without a pitch then Onduparaka used a bad pitch for the entire second round of the 2018-19 UPL season.
How will pitches develop yet no team is pushed to meet set standards?
Worse case is that accommodating PBA in the league, led to reduced standards.
What was supposed (imagining that other teams had green pitches) to be one bad pitch, created two bad pitches.
Hitting two birds (knocking out standards) with one stone.
Developing has take it or leave it conditions. If you don’t have the requirements for applying at BOU and BOA, don’t bother applying.
If Tottenham and FC Barcelona don’t redevelop their respective stadiums, then match day revenue will not increase (develop).
Ugandan Football’s challenge is that standards have been set but can’t be enforced because of the leniency to accommodate everyone. In the PBA case, a team that couldn’t meet UPL standards got welcomed with a hug.
WHAT’S THE EFFECT?
What message do BOU and BOA send out to the general public when they stick to their recruitment standards? A U.C.E candidate in 2019 will know what’s at stake should they ever wish to work at BOA and BOU in the future.
A team intending to compete in EPL will know what it takes to survive in EPL. Tottenham and FC Barcelona were able to accept their current situation then do something about it, this has led to more teams having new stadiums in Europe.
The need to meet standards helps to push development. If PBA had been kicked out of UPL for not having a green pitch, what message would be sent out to teams gaining promotion?
If PBA had worked on making the pitch green ahead of the second round. How many green pitches would be in the second tier league next season?
How easy would it be to enforce the use of green pitches in the second tier league when three relegated teams are dropping to that league with green pitches?
I don’t know about FUFA and UPL having the guts to stick to set standards but I am sure that as long as FUFA and UPL keep being lenient on who meets set standards, developing football in Uganda will continue being a myth.
In this article, I only used an example of failing to be strict with STANDARDS set for a playing pitch in UPL. That is about 1% of Ugandan football.
Disclaimer: The writer doesn’t have anything against PBA. The example was used in good faith.
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This is an important observation. I would like to point out the issue of playing grounds getting replaced by competing land use preferences as a result of urbanization. However, when it comes to implementing standards is difficult as they are set high and above many can meet. Therefore, requires grassroots interventions to create enabling environment for communities to at least have the means to comply i.e. gazetted areas for sports enough accommodate the designs or set standards of a play ground. Otherwise, if this was the tourism industry you would say .. “the hippos are getting extinct due to poachers”.