Naming football clubs in Uganda.

Football has three arms; business, technical and administration.

In business, getting a name right is key but that is something that most Ugandans don’t agree with perhaps an indication of low success rates in business.

Take a survey about most business names in Uganda, they either have a founder’s name, nickname or something that would struggle to become a brand name.

The same Ugandan principle of business naming is used in football. After all, football is a reflection of society.

Football clubs in Uganda struggle to attract and RETAIN football fans because of very weak brand names as a result of lacking professionalism and creativity during the process of getting a football club name.

Below is a group of two different league tables, take a look and decide which league would easily attract and retain fans.

1 Vipers SC 1 Kitende FC
2 Maroons FC 2 Luzira FC
3 URA FC 3 Nagalama FC
4 Bright Stars FC 4 Kawanda FC
5 Police FC 5 Masindi FC
6 Gafford Asubo Ladies FC 6 Kyebando Ladies FC
7 She Corporates 7 Nakawa Ladies FC
8 UCU lady canons 8 Mukono Ladies FC
9 Aidenal School of Art 9 Entebbe Futsal Club
10 Park Futsal Club 10 Kyebando Futsal Club

Imagine having to sell match day tickets for a fixture between Maroons FC and URA FC. The only time such a fixture would attract fans is if one of the clubs involved had a hand in deciding a league champion. Does that sound similar to speculation?

On matchday one of the 2019-20 Uganda Premier League (UPL) URA FC vs Maroons FC was scheduled to be live on TV but wasn’t broadcast.

There’s no official reason for not having the match on TV but, can you imagine how many fans would watch that game? Both clubs don’t have loyal fans.

Imagine another scenario, if it were Nagalama FC vs Luzira FC. How many fans would be at that game?

Something ironic about Ugandans in football, we start football clubs then set up committees to brainstorm on how to attract sponsorship.

Same as having a league like Uganda Premier League (UPL), FUFA Women’s Elite League (FWEL), Futsal Super League (FSL) and FUFA Big League (FBL) they can only grow in value to easily attract more sponsors and partners if the clubs participating in those respective leagues have brand names.

Attracting sponsorship starts with having a fan base. It’s easier to attract and RETAIN a loyal fan when a club has a geographical location as a club name because that gives fans a sense of belonging.

Federation Of Uganda Football Associations (FUFA) is responsible for approving football club names or change of names.

If football is to develop in Uganda so that it can attract loyal fans then FUFA has a hand in this.

FUFA needs to come up with guidelines on accepted club names knowing it affects the valuation of any league because of the number of loyal fans attracted to each club.

In some countries, club licensing guidelines enforce for club names to include a geographical location as a part of a football club name.

Club naming guidelines should be in line with FUFA’s vision to be the number one football country in Africa both on and off the pitch.

As UPL, FWEL, FSL and FBL struggle to grow their value, have we thought about the clubs in those leagues?

Have we thought about a league being as valuable as the clubs in the league?

How valuable are Police FC, Maroons FC, URA FC, UPDF FC, Water FC, Park FC, She Corporates, Gafford Ladies and even Vipers SC?

With all due respect to them as institutions, they have almost zero value as football business because they can’t attract and RETAIN loyal fans that can be turned into members or customers.

Sc Villa, Express FC, and Proline FC have tried to build a brand name without basing on having a geographical name but success in that route takes many years of deliberate hard work.

Football as a business is unique in a way that it always offers a blueprint for success. It doesn’t have to be copy and paste but anyone running a football club can always have an example of success stories to refer to.

Football brands like Bayer Leverkusen, PSV Eindhoven, Red Bull Salzburg e.t.c. decided to use company names but still included a geographical location because they know that in football business, fans are the only source of sustainable income.

Sponsorship, gate receipts and sale of merchandise increase with number of fans but other football sources of income like player sales and prize money can’t be reliable or sustainable.

The geographical name makes it easy to identify and creates a sense of belonging for anybody that has interacted with that area as a tourist, student, business, place of birth or residence.

A professional business name is one of the foundations for succeeding in business.

The majority of football clubs in Uganda need to use geographical related names if they are to succeed in football business otherwise, they are living on wasted time.


5 thoughts on “Naming football clubs in Uganda.

  1. Reminds me of Paulo Kafeero’s song “Olulimi Lwange”, in this song he sings about the decay in our languages and somewhere he states something like “When you look at the names of the tall buildings we have in town, God should send us another saviour”

    As a nation we ought to start appreciating who we are and it starts with preserving our “cultures and languages”. This will manifest in everything else we do.

    Nice article Ben.

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