KCCA midfielder Kezironi Kizito turns away from Fahad Bayo of Vipers SC

 

There has been a bedlam in the football fraternity in Uganda following the announcement of the new reforms that the Federation of Uganda Football Associations (FUFA) wants to make in its competitions. The new proposals have been received by an uproar from the wider section, with many insisting the changes are unnecessary.

It is important to note that change is a constant and a fact of life regardless of whether it’s positive or negative.  Actually, German-born theoretical physicist Albert Einstein once said that “doing the same thing repeatedly, and expecting different results is the definition of insanity.” Therefore, change across different spheres of life is inevitable, football inclusive.

FUFA President Eng. Moses Magogo indicates that they expected the resistance and confusion but he is optimistic that many will come to realize their proposal with time like it has been the case in the past.

“Every time when you need to succeed, you definitely need to change, unless when you are satisfied with the state in which you are,” he said before adding. “Humanity is resistant to change and everybody would want to remain in the state of comfort. Secondly, it’s also trendy these days to resist authorities but what makes leadership count is being able to convince and navigate such waters. For as long as what you are looking at is good and as FUFA, we have demonstrated that on many occasions.”

The biggest question is if these changes are for the better, why is it that they have been received in bad faith by the public? Is it a case of ignorance about what the new reforms mean or perhaps FUFA is rushing and making changes that are unnecessary?

Kawowo Sports’ Joel Muyita brings you a detailed look at the new proposal that FUFA is presenting in order to give the game of football a face-lift.

According to Norja Vanderelst, a creative director at Colour Infusion in Canada, strategic planning is a key function of an organisation’s management that helps to set priorities, allocate resources, and ensure that everyone is working towards common goals and objectives. However, for strategic planning to be effective, there are two important tools that are needed – a vision and a mission statements. These serve as a guide for creating objectives and goals in the organisation, thus providing a road-map that is to be followed by everyone.

In 2018, FUFA set a vision of becoming the number one footballing nation in Africa on and off the pitch backed with the mission of developing, promoting and protecting the beautiful game. Therefore, to attain the aforementioned dream, there ought to be changes about how things are done currently.

FUFA’s Strategic plan looks at eight key areas of focus that must be improved in order for the game to develop. These include;

  1. Governance
  2. Football Development
  3. Equipment, Facilities and Infrastructure
  4. National and Representative teams
  5. Competitions
  6. Marketing and Communication
  7. Finance and Administration
  8. Membership

Therefore, the new reforms mainly look at changing FUFA competitions in three aspects that is; youth football, amateur level and the professional side.

FUFA CEO in charge of football development Decolas Kizza believes these reforms will help to change the game of football right from the grassroots level to the top tier league.

“We made research and analysis about how competitions are run in the country and we came to a conclusion that there must be a way in how we do things. The new changes are for better because we want to improve at every level.” He said.

Youth Football

In here, FUFA has looked at three aspects, that is;

  • Mass Involvement
  • Improving the current Junior competitions
  • Giving football academies direction

Mass involvement

In the new reforms FUFA want to give access to the young people wherever they are to play football so that players are tapped at a tender age and given the right footballing education. It is a fact that not all may end up succeeding as professional footballers but there are several ways they can contribute to the game as fans, coaches or administrators because they have grown knowing football.

Improving the current youth competitions

FUFA currently runs the Juniors League, fully funded by FIFA. Whereas it has many challenges for the five years it has been in existence, there is no doubt that it has produced a number of players. The likes of Allan Okello, Musitafa Kizza, Bashir Asiku, Lawrence Tezikya, Martin Aprem and Sadat Anaku among others.

In the new proposals, the Juniors League will be attached to the 8 regions of FUFA, with each region required to have at least a league of 12 clubs. Depending on the ability of the region but, a region can have more than one Junior league to accommodate more numbers. For instance, Kampala region has five divisions (Nakawa, Rubaga, Makindye, Central and Kawempe), these can each have an independent Juniors’ League.

Therefore, FUFA looks at a minimum of 96 teams from the 8 regions which brings down a total of 24,000 players. (25 players per player).

What remains unclear though is whether these teams will still be entitled to facilitation from FIFA like it is the case in the current set-up.

However, it is no longer going to be mandatory for the 12 Uganda Premier League clubs to have these Junior teams but those with capacity to have them will be allowed to have them compete in the regions they are based.

Football Academies

It cannot be disputed that the future belongs to the youth. This rings true with football also. Nurturing talent from a young age has always been key to the success of any football club. However, there is no golden rule on how to develop young players into the football stars of tomorrow.

FUFA Executive committee decided that there will be five key areas on which the grading of the academies will be made in line with attaining club licensing standards in the sectors of Governance, Sporting, finance, Infrastructure & equipment as well as personnel and administration. Here, FUFA is going to register, license and classify all football academies in the country into four categories. When these categories are done, they publish this to the parents, demanding that these academies follow the FUFA Player development curriculum. There are terms that must be kept at all times, they will register all the players to be put in the national database to solve things like age cheating but most importantly, do a financial compensation for the academies managing players between 12-18 years when these players eventually turn professional both here and outside.

Amateur Football

This looks at involving the masses and make sure football is played in every corner of the country. Uganda has 134 political districts, therefore, FUFA wants to have 134 District Football Associations with competitions at the district level.

Professional Football

This is what has attracted the attention of many people with FUFA proposing an overhaul in the way the top leagues (Uganda Premier League and FUFA Big League) are played.  FUFA suggests to reduce the number of teams in the Premier League from 16 to 12 with the belief that this will increase competition, quality and make the teams professional.

“Let’s have 28 clubs that are able to play professional football.  We are aware that there are clubs that will need 4 or 5 years to prepare themselves. And instead of closing out those clubs through Club Licensing, we are saying prepare yourself and play at the level you can and that is the Big League. Using our statistics from Club licensing, we thought the number 12 was very scientific.  We want to do this for a period of about 5 years, re-evaluate and If we are good enough, we can go back to the 16 but we shall have created a benchmark of clubs that will be aspiring to play in the Premier League.”

Joel Muyita

Joel Muyita is a senior staff writer at Kawowo Sports.

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