Managing Finances for Football in Uganda.

Football organizations need money to operate yet it’s a very scarce resource because of the tight competition involved in acquiring it.
To beat the tight competition, football organizations in Uganda must have good financial management practices.

Managing finances transparently, efficiently
and effectively is essential to ensure continued income and growth for any football organization.

Mentioning good financial management practices and the majority of Ugandans in the same sentence is almost equivalent to mentioning water and oil in the same space. The two hardly mix!

Financial literacy is supposed to be taught from the infancy stage using the same effort as reading, writing, etiquette, and all the other lessons that are taught in that period of human growth.

Unfortunately, the majority of Ugandans don’t undergo financial literacy that would enable us to practice good financial management. As we get older, we struggle to manage personal finances yet besides, we have football organizations to manage.

A friend of mine named Peter traveled with his family and in-laws to Kabale to celebrate Christmas. As the norm usually has it in most Ugandan cultures, his parents gave his niece 10,000 Uganda shillings as pocket money on the way back.

Along the way, the excited niece and the mother planned on how to use the money and settled for the idea of buying roasted chicken to enjoy the road trip.
They gladly requested Peter that should he come across a selling point for roasted chicken, he should stop so that they spend their money.

Concerned about their choice on how to spend the money, Peter asked the sister in law and niece whether eating chicken was their main need.

Of course, his question wasn’t treated in a good way but he exercised his authority to inform them that he wasn’t going to stop.

The above scenario of impulsive spending speaks to the majority of us Ugandans yet we are required to manage finances in the organizations that we serve.

Another misconception among we Ugandans, it that good financial management practices is a job for people employed in the finance department yet it’s every individual that is part of an organization.

In June 2020, the Federation of International Football Association (FIFA) approved that $1.5 million will be sent out to each member association as COVID-19 relief aid.

Football clubs in Uganda are already demanding for the money to pay off salaries and in typical Ugandan financial management fashion, there are already articles published to show how the money should be spent.

The money is not meant to bail out only football clubs but the entire football family of FUFA’s 34 members.

I can understand that football clubs in Uganda have been badly affected by COVID-19 and need money to pay salaries but I am very sure the majority of football clubs have always had inconsistencies in paying salaries.

I am not sure about the instructions but, If I had to decide, I would ensure that $1.5 million is spent on activities that will lead to growing or attracting competent human capacity within football and infrastructure that would lead to sustainable income within football.

For example, there’s no club with a training ground worthy of a professional football club in Uganda.

How many football clubs in Uganda lack training facilities? How many football clubs spend money on renting or hiring poor training facilities?

If part of that money were to be used to construct modern football training facilities in some parts of the country, would clubs still have to rent or hire training facilities as a cost? Would owning training facilities enable clubs to make money in the long run?

We need to prioritize the training of good financial management practices within football in Uganda.

It’s never too late and, will save us the burden that comes with the ignorance of managing finances for football in Uganda.

Actions that keep Ugandan football amateur.

Amateur football is the act of engaging in football to pass time usually without the expectation of remuneration.

Professional football is a full-time activity in football, working towards remuneration being more than what has been invested.

Football in Uganda was introduced by the British colonialists as a hobby.

It was viewed as a leisure activity that players, coaches, referees, administrators, and other football stakeholders could get involved in at the end of the day when they had finished up with work.

The year is 2020, football is still generally amateur in Uganda.

There are steps that are being taken by the Federation of Uganda Football Associations (FUFA) to develop football into a profession but we still have decisions and actions that keep Ugandan football amateur.

In March 2020, Uganda’s domestic national team camped for training in the same period that coincided with the Uganda Premier League (UPL) matchday 25.

Some clubs had players reporting on match day to represent their clubs.

That incident on its own raises questions that prove our level of amateurism.

How did club coaches prepare their teams for matchday 25?

Did the national team coach share the players’ training workload with affected club coaches?

Could the national team training be delayed by a week or have UPL matchday 25 postponed?

We also have many incidents of coaches handling more than one team at the same time.

These include the national team coaches handling the domestic team and the majorly based foreign team considering that in March 2020 they were going to be in camp at the same time.

From May 2015 to February 2020, I worked as a full-time football coach but failed to see how it’s possible to coach more than one team at the same time.

The amount of work required to plan and prepare a training session, conduct and supervise a training session, to evaluate, and give feedback after the session is very demanding.

Professional football coaches work with bigger teams of support coaches but still require breaks (now known as sabbaticals) in between moving from one job to another because they need to recharge from the exhaustive task.

If any coach is handling more than one team at the same time, then it’s clear that they aren’t doing 30% of the work that should be done.

In the example of UPL and our national team coaches, these are the known professional football entities in Uganda but professionalism is on paper and not yet practiced at 100%.

If football in Uganda is to develop into professional then we need to accept that we are still amateur.

Arriving at the acceptance stage is what will enable us to start planning on how to become professional.

Unfortunately, 99% of the internal football stakeholders in Uganda either haven’t arrived at the acceptance stage and/or deny that football is still amateur.

We seem to be comfortable with football staying in its current stage.

Professional football would transform Uganda’s economy by reducing the rate of unemployment, greatly increase on the amount of taxes collected from football, football is a huge factor in increasing the number of tourists, and professional football requires knowledge that would improve the education capacity of the Ugandans involved in football.

For that to happen, we need to document the decisions and actions that are still keeping us amateur then plan on how to become professional.

FUFA should amend football regulations.

On 13th February 2020, the Federation of International Football Association (FIFA) communicated an amendment of regulations on the status and transfer of players to ensure that solidarity mechanism payments be applied at a national level.

When I read the amendment, it gave me mixed emotions.

I was very happy that domestic transfers will help to generate funds to grassroots football but also very disappointed and frustrated that the Federation of Uganda Football Associations (FUFA) had never realized the potential of solidarity mechanism.

2020 marks four years since I wrote about the solidarity mechanism and how it could be used to generate revenue for football clubs in Uganda.

FUFA did amend article 30.3 regulations on the status and transfer of players but there was hardly any impact, close to wasted time.

The above amendment gives FUFA more work yet they should be simplifying it by ensuring that clubs start and end the entire process.

All that FUFA needs is to supervise the process.

My other disappointment comes from us not wanting to lead, we always want to follow.

We don’t want to challenge the process.

We lack football administrators with genuine passion and creativity that would have an instant impact on the development of football in Uganda.

Can you imagine the impact and legacy if FUFA had started a quality domestic solidarity mechanism and be used as a case study by FIFA? 

FUFA needs to amend football regulations that reflect its mission to develop, promote and protect football for all.

For that to happen, it requires having employees that are well motivated to think full time on how to develop, promote and protect football for all.

At the start of the 2019-20 season Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) amended competition regulations so that a player can represent two different clubs playing in the same competition.

That amendment helped generate more revenue in the January 2020 transfer window and for UEFA competitions to retain good players.

Erling Braut Haaland joined BvB Dortmund from RB Salzburg after they met his release clause for a reported £17 million.

Before the amendment, Haaland might have joined Dortmund but the UEFA Champions’ League would have lost a player of his quality which affects TV revenue.

Haaland could have decided to stay at RB Salzburg to play in the knock out rounds of the Europa League which would have meant that Salzburg misses out on earning £17 million.

The same can be said of Bruno Fernandes joining Manchester United from Benfica for £47 million, Minamino to Liverpool from RB Salzburg for £7 million and many other transfers.

UEFA’s action is an example of how a well thought out amendment on football regulations can have an impact on the development of football.

Now that FIFA has sorted out the domestic version of solidarity mechanism, FUFA needs to comb through the rest of its regulations because amending most of them would have an instant impact on the development, promotion, and protection of football in Uganda.

FUFA can’t solve Uganda’s football problems on its own.

Whenever there’s a football problem in Uganda, the Federation of Uganda Football Associations (FUFA) is expected to solve it.

Poor officiation, clubs not paying salaries, poor football facilities, players failing trials, unprofessional coaches, women’s football issues, unregulated agents, chaotic schools’ football, unethical administrators, football not being able to make front-page headlines, clubs not performing at the continental level, etc.

Think of any problem within Ugandan football, and FUFA will be the first culprit.

Some problems are comical like; clubs not having sponsors, age cheating in underage football, and transporting clubs.

As the body that’s in charge of football in Uganda, FUFA should take responsibility for the blame but they can’t solve all problems.

Using an example of corruption, the Ugandan government is responsible and should take the blame but can’t solve that problem on its own.

It requires sensitizing the public that acts like bribing police, bribing your way to getting a job, cheating in exams, expecting to be paid extra for performing a service for which you are already paid, falsifying receipts, etc. are all acts of corruption.

That way, the public will know that corruption starts with me.

It’s a problem that can go away if we change behaviour from our homes and the quality of upbringing.  

FUFA is a group of football associations. They are the members that makeup FUFA.

Uganda Football Referees’ Association, Uganda Football Coaches’ Association, Uganda Women’s Football Association, Uganda Football Players’ Association, etc. are some of the FUFA member associations.

An image showing some of FUFA’s member associations

FUFA needs to come up with a syllabus for developing the capacity of administrators to improve governance with FUFA member associations.

Come up with guidelines on who qualifies to be eligible for football administration courses.

Formulate a thorough member association licensing guide, delegate tasks that directly affect member associations, a balance scorecard, and an appraisal system for member associations.

From that process, it’s possible to ask questions like; What does each FUFA member association do to solve problems that are linked to them?

On 12th February 2020, the FUFA Competitions Disciplinary Panel (CPD) ruled that KCCA FC fans committed acts of hooliganism in a UPL match against URA FC after the Sam Ssimbwa (URA FC head coach) celebrated in front of them.

Interestingly, Sam Ssimbwa didn’t get any punishment, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he is among the majority blaming FUFA for any problem.

Unknown to CPD, three football problems were “swept under the carpet” yet these will haunt FUFA in the long run.

The URA FC vs KCCA FC fans violence can be solved by making the Uganda Football Coaches’ Association answerable as to why they have licensed a coach that behaves that way, make the Uganda Football Referees’ Association answerable as to why the referee did not book the coach, make UPL, URA FC and KCCA FC answerable for the way fans behaved in that match.

There should be repercussions for each football problem, ensure that it’s documented and make sure the responsible member association is doing something about the found problems.

The repercussions should always trickle down to the coach, fan, referee, administrator, and player to always be answerable and start taking responsibility for any football problem.

How long will it take for FUFA member associations to solve problems and to ensure they don’t happen again?

How long would it take to solve the majority of Uganda’s football problems?

Bias in Ugandan football.

In 2009, I worked at a financial institution that went on to post obscene profits in their financial year results.

When management called for a meeting, every employee expected to have a good meeting. To their shock, management was very worried about the performance, they were sure something better needed to be done to improve or else they faced collapsing due to increased competition in that sector.

The research was conducted to objectively analyze that given the human resource at their disposal, they should be doing far much better irrespective of posting very healthy financial year results.

Poor service was identified as the major problem, this led to massive efforts into improving the quality of service.

Over the following ten years, the institution has greatly improved service and survived cut-throat competition to stay in business, unlike many other financial institutions within that same period.

In football psychology, there are two major forms of bias; confirmation bias and outcome bias.

Confirmation bias is where people seek information that supports their opinion, rather than looking for objective information and using flexible thinking to adjust their opinion based on facts and fair analysis.

An example of confirmation bias in Ugandan football is our thinking that a league should have more than 16 teams, it’s an opinion shared by many people involved in Ugandan football.

In our thinking, the more teams in the league, the higher the chances of having teams from more regions hence football development.

However, when you place the facts on the requirements to have a successful 16 team league, there’s glaring evidence that we would struggle with an eight-team league.

Outcome bias is when an incorrect decision ends up with a positive outcome at that moment, so we believe the decision is now correct.

An example of outcome bias in Ugandan football is the different wins or tournament appearances from clubs or national teams.

The majority of these are as a result of things (age cheating, luck in fixtures) that can’t be sustainable in the long run.

From those two explanations, it’s very easy to see how these forms of bias affect the development of football in Uganda because we are a society that only looks at results without a genuine assessment of how we got there.

Look around Ugandan football, it’s littered with very many other examples of confirmation bias and outcome bias.

The challenge with acquiring success through these forms of bias is that when you face a problem, it’s sometimes too late to find a solution.

See how a 16 team UPL in 2019 has struggled with pitches because of heavy rainfall and unplanned tournaments like The Council of East and Central Africa Football Associations (CECAFA)

One of the main factors that affect decision making in Ugandan football has got to be our inability to use effective forecasting which is a societal problem out of our upbringing.

As Ugandans, we generally prefer the short term happiness of how we feel at the moment (instant gratification) compared to how we feel later (delayed gratification).

If you told the Ugandan football community that having an eight-team league would buy time to develop the resources required (quality coaches, quality referees, quality facilities, competent administrators) to run a successful 20 team league, they would have you listed as crazy.

Recently, I was impressed when the Federation of Uganda Football Associations (FUFA) started the take flight project in Women’s football. In this project, the Women’s Super League (WSL) was formed to be the top league with eight teams.

This came after Women’s football had posted impressive results in the 2018-19 season.

I am very sure that implementing “take flight” had a lot of challenges. Yes, it’s very demanding to work with eight amateur teams trying to become professional but can you imagine how harder it would have been working with 16 teams?

WSL will have its challenges. Poor officiating has already been raised as a concern by sections of the media but whatever challenges they face; it will take a shorter time to solve those problems.

Good to see that an objective decision was made to develop women’s football in Uganda because the people in charge used effective forecasting very well.

Hopefully, men’s football places its ego aside and borrows a leaf from Women’s football.

Futsal should learn from Ugandan football problems.

Futsal is an official form of football, 5 players per team on a small-sized pitch preferably indoors playing for 20 minutes each half.

Being an indoor game, many goals, less contact, fewer injuries, and unlimited rolling substitutions are some of the reasons it’s growing at a very high rate worldwide. Uganda hasn’t been left out of that growth.

The Futsal Super League (FSL) has been going on, with two official seasons under the organization of the Futsal Association of Uganda (FAU), the 2019-20 FSL season kicks off on Monday 28th October 2019 at the Lugogo Indoor Stadium.

During the 2019 Federation of Uganda Football Associations (FUFA) Annual Ordinary Assembly, FAU was admitted as a full member of FUFA recognized with the responsibility to manage and organize futsal in Uganda. That kind of authority comes with a lot of responsibilities.

FUFA was formed in 1924, five years away from making 100 years.

In that period, almost all of FUFA’s 34 members don’t have a corporate governance structure in place yet ironically FUFA practices fairly good corporate governance, at least for Ugandan standards.

Almost 100 years later, football in Uganda is not yet professional.

The Uganda Premier League (UPL) and the FUFA Big League (FBL) are supposed to be professional but that is on paper because we are too lenient to enforce the implementation of standards required to be professional.

Almost 100 years later, there’s no football club or FUFA member that is self-sustainable because we have failed to do simple things like understanding football administration and how football business works.

Almost 100 years later, we are going to celebrate a football centenary in which no football club owns a stadium (Kcca FC shouldn’t consider that thing as a stadium).

Almost 100 years later, we still have league matches that rarely kick off on time, still have physical inspections for licensed players, can’t have match attendance records, very weak competition regulations, lack meaningful match statistics for performance analysis, lack a match day countdown and generally lack creativity to solve basic problems.

Anyway, there must be something to celebrate about Ugandan football but not over 100 years. If it were me, that centenary would have a muted celebration then start all over again.

Almost 100 years later, the Futsal Association of Uganda is joining as a full member of FUFA that should learn from all FUFA members to avoid the problems that have been on repeat for the past 95 years.

120 out of 100 Ugandans believe that funding from government or sponsors is the only solution to solve football problems. They also believe that football owes them something and have a sense of entitlement on what FUFA should do for them.

Between August to October 2019, I was very unfortunate (pun intended) to be in charge of FSL’s 2019-20 club licensing.

In that period, I realized that a futsal club owner expects FAU or FUFA to have sponsors but that particular club owner can’t have 12 passport size photos (in soft copy) available in five working days.

In that scenario, it’s evident the majority of football stakeholders lack basic knowledge of how football operates, how they would benefit if the game was professional and how they can be supported to become successful.

The general lack of knowledge on how football would become professional makes them have a very negative attitude towards football leaders or member associations.

Indeed, Political Economic Social and Technology (P.E.S.T) factors have a huge influence on any institution. However, the P in FUFA members’ way too loud, very evident and negative for the development of football in Uganda.

If FUFA members had an AGM and that’s the time they were the most active in a year, that’s a very loud P.

WHAT SHOULD FAU DO?

Irrespective of the challenges FAU has at the moment, they should do the simple things that don’t require a lot of resources.

Involve all stakeholders, empower through training, make them understand what it means to be professional, set and enforce standards, have a strategic plan, demand quality, record all incidents to help with information on how to recover from mistakes, keep/manage time, be active throughout the year, be organized, make social media your second home, plan and research.

With all that in place, it will become easier to have genuinely professional football.

FAU’s huge responsibility is to do the simple things well.

Simplicity is genius!

UPL is crowded at 16.

At the end of the 2015-16 season, I thought that Uganda Premier League (UPL) needed to be reduced from 16 clubs to 12 clubs.

Six matches into the 2019-20 season, I am certain the number needs to be reduced from 16 clubs to eight clubs. It sounds strange, very strange because I would have expected UPL to have improved and manage to become a 20 club league.

An observation of the majority of the 20 club leagues that have a huge following shows they have QUALITY and QUANTITY personnel in the following areas; coaching, match officials, football administrators, and football support staff that are COMPETENT too.

Besides, they have the availability of quality training grounds and stadiums that can support a 20 team league of 38 match days translating into 380 matches.

All the mentioned factors that make a 20 club league successful, were built over time. They were not given.

WHAT ABOUT UPL?

Uganda doesn’t have anything that would justify having a 16 club league. To make it worse, clubs are entitled to be in UPL. Some clubs expect to be given financial support from the Federation of Uganda Football Associations (FUFA) to help them operate.

The human resource capacity is extremely low, non-existent facilities mean that four venues are hosting 13 out of 16 clubs in the 2019-20 season.

Wankulukuku has hosted Express FC, Bright Stars FC, Wakiso Giants, and Tooro United.
Lugogo has hosted Kcca FC, Proline FC and soon Police FC.
Luzira pitch has hosted Maroons FC, Onduparaka FC, and Mbarara City FC
Namboole hosts URA FC, Sc Villa, and Kyetume FC

Extremely poor officiating, poor timekeeping, a congested and disorganized fixture, extremely low standards of footballers to an extent that almost every club in the UPL has an average of three players with pot bellies, poor quality coaching standards, absence of specialist football coaches, very weak club brands that causes low match attendance levels, non-existent performance analysis, poor standards of facilities and unethical football administrators have been some of the 2019-20 UPL highlights.

The 2019-20 UPL season has a close resemblance to an amateur corporate league. Most times, it didn’t feel like 2019 but a stone-age version of football.

Ugandan society tolerates mediocrity to an extent that, we celebrate low standards. With all that incompetence in UPL, we are either proud of the work done or go silent about poor quality because we are afraid of inconveniencing the people in charge.

UPL secretariat operates in a very harsh football environment but they can do something about it. It’s very disappointing that UPL seems to be resigned to, “we can’t do anything about it” attitude.

WHAT DOES UPL NEED?

UPL needs to be reduced from 16 to eight clubs so that quality and competent human resource can be built over time to sustain a 16 club league and probably 20 clubs in the future.

FUFA is currently doing a very good job in terms of developing human capacity with very many football courses but the numbers are not yet at a level that can sustain a 16 club league.

FUFA needs to have realized this by now then change the football pyramid structure to have clearly defined number of clubs that should be in UPL and lower leagues.

UPL needs to be in charge of its own club licensing program that would be supervised by FUFA. The current club licensing is a stale joke that lacks professionalism because its not full time.

UPL needs to have a five-year strategic plan shared with all football stakeholders. Perhaps, that will be the start of getting football administration basics right.

Be in charge of issues in their control like proper time keeping, have in place a match day countdown, a proper player and club officials licensing system and proper regulations that govern the league. Take care of simple things, the bigger things will fall in place.

If it were my decision to make, it would be eight clubs in UPL because I’d rather have UPL with 8 professional clubs than have 16 amateur clubs.

Don’t bother wondering about the number of matches, an 8 club league can still have the same number of matches as a 16 club league. All you need is CREATIVITY.

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.

TABLE ATABLE B
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.

FUFA’s HAND IN THIS
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.

Forced Membership!

Uganda Football Coaches Association (UFCA) is a member of the Federation of Uganda Football Associations (FUFA).

UFCA struggled to attract coaches as members so they decided to find a way of having competition regulations amended in their favor to ensure that football coaches involved in FUFA organized tournaments pay membership fees to be granted a practicing license.

Like all decisions that aren’t well thought out, it wasn’t sustainable because the number of coaches licensed to work is far less than the actual number of coaches.

UFCA came up with another idea. They are proposing to ensure that every time a coach has to go for an advanced coaching course, fully paid membership with UFCA will be one of the criteria used to be admitted into the course.

Again another decision that isn’t well thought out. It won’t be sustainable because there’s usually a two-year gap between coaching courses and the majority of coaches drop out of courses.

UFCA has failed to invest time into finding out why they struggle to attract members, they resort to hijacking them into forced membership.

UFCA has failed to take responsibility for low membership numbers, they resort to blaming coaches for lacking solidarity.

WHY IS UFCA STRUGGLING TO ATTRACT MEMBERS?

For any person to be a paid member of any association, they need value in return for what is being paid. It’s that simple.

UFCA offers no value or struggles to offer any meaningful value to its members. If they did that, current members would have a lot of positives to share.

There’s a time I wanted to join UFCA, I was invited for a meeting that started with a debate about drinks, after 45 minutes of the debate, I’d had enough and left football coaches debating about drinks.

It’s almost 10 years since that incident, basing on observations from current UFCA members. I highly doubt I’ve missed anything from UFCA that adds value to me as a football coach.

WHAT SHOULD UFCA DO BETTER?

Corporate governance is the solution for UFCA. UFCA can adopt a system of governance that members use to vote a board of directors that appoints an executive to run the day to day business of the association.

In modern football business, if any football institution is interested in being self-sustainable then it’s imperative to have employees that work full time to think of ways to make the institution better.

Good governance is essential for a football institution to be managed effectively and to demonstrate accountability and transparency.

Values are at the core of good governance, but it is brought to life by leadership, direction, and supervision, by the people who have the right skills and experience for their role.

By adopting principles of good governance, it will benefit UFCA in terms of engaging the trust of all stakeholders.

Good governance will not in itself ensure success, but it should improve UFCA’s management, support its reputation, and most importantly, help secure UFCA’s future and its sustainability.

Example: In Uganda, most coaches aged 30 and above struggle with computer literacy and a low command of the English language that causes language barrier and interpretation issues but those coaches are more than capable of coaching very well.

With a well thought out structure, UFCA would have a technical director that understands the needs of those coaches.

The technical director can draft a syllabus that enables coaches to be trained on how to be computer literate then organize internal coaching courses in a language they understand so that by the time they attend the mandatory English version of the course, it’s a matter of understanding the interpretations.

That’s one of the many problems faced by coaches in Ugandan football, finding solutions to solving problems by coaches would be the kind of value addition any coach needs hence enabling UFCA to attract members.

Over to you at UFCA.

Disclaimer: The writer has nothing against being a UFCA member.

Sacrifice football players.

There’s a saying in football that all decisions made have to be central to the players. Football players are very important stakeholders in football.

Before I get misunderstood, that doesn’t mean other stakeholders like; referees, administrators, media, fans, and coaches don’t have an important role to play in football. They are very important, without them, the game can’t go on.

For any football decision to be made, the priority should be footballers then other football stakeholders will benefit from that decision.

Example; When FIFA introduces a water break during matches, players are the priority in that decision but other stakeholders benefit.

Match officials will get an opportunity to cool off, take water and perhaps have a simple chat about the progress of the game.

Football players being key and central in all decisions seems to be the way things should be done but not in Uganda.

HOW ARE FOOTBALL PLAYERS SACRIFICED IN UGANDAN FOOTBALL?

The majority of footballers in Ugandan football have their health sacrificed due to limited resting arising from the number of matches they get involved in.

Uganda Premier League (UPL), Uganda Cup, Super 8, ODILO and The Drum football tournament are some of the tournaments.

At the end of the 2018-19 season, there was a high number of players that were involved in league/cup matches on a Friday then played in The Drum football tournament matches on a Sunday.

That means a player was involved in two matches in a space of three days but when you work out the number of hours, playing at 4 pm on Friday then 4 pm on Sunday means they played two matches in a space of 48 hours.

When other factors like weather conditions, poor playing facilities, poor nutrition, the distance between match venues, the poor physical condition of players, etc. all come in then it’s a recipe for player burn out or poor health conditions after retirement.

Just when you thought it couldn’t get worse. ODILO national championships, a U-14 football tournament organized by FUFA will have teams playing three matches in a space of 4 days.

How many Ugandan footballers have rested since the 2018-19 season ended? Many players were involved in The Drum football tournament, COSAFA, CECAFA, CHAN qualifiers and then Super 8 in the offseason.

With CAF Champions’ league and UPL all coming up, fingers crossed they won’t be limping by January 2020 if Uganda Cranes qualifies for CHAN 2020.

Football players indeed need to get involved in many tournaments and matches to gain experience but for that to happen, other conditions like the quality of playing infrastructure, quality nutrition, quality of travel between matches, good fitness levels, etc. have to be met.

This being Uganda we went for the copy and paste version of exposing footballers to many matches in a short time without considering other factors.

Does that explain why 95% of footballers that play within Uganda lack consistency?

The majority of footballers in Ugandan football have their income sacrificed because clubs don’t honor contracts.

Most players go unpaid for an entire second round of the league then end up being released at the end of the season.

This’ usually done by clubs that are struggling to perform on the pitch because they know players will leave after not being paid then save money to contract new players.

WHAT CAN BE DONE TO IMPROVE?

Federation of Uganda Football Associations (FUFA) and UPL as the organizers of major tournaments in Uganda football need to identify individuals with technical knowledge of football then have them trained on how to handle fixtures and start involving them in decisions to do with fixtures.

It’s true that other factors like pitch availability affect fixtures but having an input of someone with technical knowledge of football would greatly help to avoid unhealthy fixture congestion and overlapping football seasons.

Uganda Football Players’ Association needs to adopt a corporate governance module to enable it to attract and have all football players as members.

This will help them achieve self-sustainability to open up funding for educating players. All footballers in Uganda may be ignorant about the dangers of playing many matches in unfavorable recovery conditions.

Ironically, FUFA preaches and practices corporate governance but the majority of its members are struggling to implement it. FUFA should empower members by conducting training sessions to improve governance.

FUFA’s club licensing regulations should be enforced. Under financial criteria, clubs are supposed to have cleared all debts to zero balance.

With better supervision, it’s possible to identify clubs that haven’t paid players and other service providers.

FUFA can amend competition regulations to include that clubs defaulting on payments be deducted points and it extreme cases they can be relegated or denied a license to compete in some tournaments.

Football organizers in Uganda need to start considering players as key stakeholders in decisions. For that to happen, players will need to be educated. With knowledge comes power.

Disclaimers: The writer has nothing against any football tournament in Uganda.