As sports in Uganda remains clouded by uncertainty of the on-going suspension since 17th March 2020 because of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, there is hope that light at the end of the tunnel will be envisaged.
National Council of Sports (NCS), the main arm that governs sports in Uganda has continued to engage the central Government as well as the Ministry of Health alongside the COVID-19 national task force on how best sports will return in the post pandemic epoch.
Therefore, Standard Operating Procedures (SOP’s) such as continued social distancing, continuous hand washing, sanitizing, efficient use of masks, sneezing under elbows and other good health recommended measures have been initiated.
NCS’ initiatives have been well backed up by the efforts from the various sports federations, all in the name of witnessing sports return safely.
Given this background, anticipated sporting events as the Airtel sponsored Masaza Cup, the top tier Uganda Premier League and others are all being planned to resume soonest, when Government finally blesses sports.
On Friday, July 17, 2020, the representatives from the 18 Masaza teams convened at Bulange in Mengo, Kampala during a day-long brain storming meeting with the Masaza Cup local organizing committee.
Experienced sports administrator-cum-politician Hajji Sulaiman Ssejjengo chaired the lengthy meeting that was punctuated by fruitful deliberations.
The key agenda on the evolved around the amendment of the 2020 Masaza Cup tournament rules and regulations.
Meddie Sserwadda from Buddu submitted the proposal that was passed unanimously.
The proposal was seconded by Eric Mbabali (Kabula) and Authuman Wasswa (Ssingo).
Some of the passed rules and regulations concerned the duration of players to play in the tournament (four years), transfer of players, stressing of SOP’s released by the World Health Organization (WHO), making of constitutions by the individual teams, electronic registration of players, training procedures of teams, registration fees (Shs 500,000 per team) among others.
In his submission, Sejjengo urged all the 18 Masaza teams to be cooperative and with the right attitude if the tournament will be held under such challenging times of humanity.
“I appeal to everyone to be cooperative. The times of COVID-19 have really challenged us a lot. However, we are mitigating on how best we shall overcome the pandemic to ensure that life moves on normally. Therefore, each of the 18 Masaza teams has to be cooperative and rhythm with the amended rules and regulations.” Sejjengo appealed.
Speaker after speaker retaliated on the need to work in unison for the betterment of sports within Buganda Kingdom and Uganda as a whole.
“As Gomba Lions, we shall comply with the rules and regulations that have been amended. Already, we have held five meetings of the Executive Committee for Gomba Ssaza and all have progressed well. We remain optimistic that by the time Government blesses sports, all will be well” Mansur Kabugo, Chairman of Gomba Ssaza football committee disclosed.
Some of the SOP’s passed by the Masaza organizing committee include the testing of all players for COVID-19 and officials, special transportation of teams, accommodation, training and the like.
Tentatively, October (not exact date) has been set as the kick off month should the health situation normalize.
To ease the smooth progress and movement of the teams especially at the initial stages, geographical locality of the teams will be considered when making the final groups of the competition.
Gomba remains the record champions of the championship that bars national team players (U-21, U-23 and the Senior team) as well as those in the FUFA Big League.
Bulemeezi won the 2019 edition after overcoming Busiro 1-0 at the gigantic Mandela National Stadium, Namboole.
In every official opening and closing match, Kabaka Ronald Muwenda Mutebi II is the chief guest.
Ministry of Youth, Sports and Recreation working committee – Buganda Kingdom:
• Chairman Masaza Football Cup organizing committee: Sulaiman Sejjengo
• Vice Chairman: Ronald Kawadwa
• Secretary: Samuel Mpiima
• Ssaza chief: Hajji Sulaiman Magala
• Bika organizing committee member: Micheal Kilonde
• BBS: Alice Namatovu
• CBS: Aisha Nakalema
• Organizing Secretary: Owek. Hassan Kiyimba
• Majestic Brands: Joseph Lwanga
• Sports Coordinator: Adam Ssematiko