Uganda Cranes Ex-Internationals pose for a group photo

The fate of Uganda’s sportsmen after retirement remains a hot subject of discussion across the divide.

Whereas a fraction of retired former sportsmen plan and live decent suitable lives after their respective active sports careers, a lion’s share of them willow in misery, pain and abject poverty.

Uganda’s former footballers of the yester-years are close to 10,000 in numbers since the 60’s.

There is a deliberate plan therefore undertaken by a group of retired generals of the game to ensure that these former footballer remain relevant to the present day life, united and many who are not doing well can be helped.

Some of the retired Uganda Cranes internationals from 50’s, 60’s, 70’s, 80’s and early 90’s

Stars of 60’s, 70’s, 80’s and 90’s met in Kampala on Saturday, 1st August 2020 in an emotional gathering.

The meeting was a result of the former footballers initiative whose leadership thought it wise for former team-mates of ages meet and reminisce.

Sport and especially football makes us friends but at times circumstances can put us apart.

This is exactly what befell many of Uganda’s former football stars of the 60’s till the early 90’s.

Upon retirement most of them settled upcountry and have thus rarely had the occasion to meet.

The meeting in Kampala was attended by among others Ibrahim ‘British’ Dafala Isaac Nsamba, Abbey Nasur, Erias Wapicho, Sadiq Wassa, Davis Black Bomber Kamoga, Robert Kiwanuka and Sam Lubowa.

In a meeting of former players of the 90’s and prior arranged by former footballers’ initiative, emotions were evident as the stars reminisced.

Most of the stories by these men reveal that passion was all they had.

Ex-Internationals in Uganda have come out boldly to seek lasting solutions to the key concerns at their disposal. This is the reason such bodies and associations that bring us together are better avenues to brainstorm the varying burning issues at hand.

Sadiq Wassa, retired former Uganda Cranes goalkeeper

Ntensibe who during his time at Express FC in the 70’s in a game against Simba scored the goal that led to the banning of Express FC had an emotional story.

Some of these former players by the way aren’t badly off and this can be attributed to a couple of things.

Football creates linkages and one such produced Dr.Ntege Ssengendo who over the last decades provided assistance to players and now signs out with advice in regards to handling injuries.

Former goalkeeper Sadiq Wassa plied his trade for corporate clubs like Nile and KCC and believes that such institutions are must if players’ welfare is to be addressed.

This is part of the work of former footballers’ initiative which intends to provide meaningfulness to life of former footballers.

A fortnight ago, Federation of Uganda Football Associations (FUFA) convened a meeting with some of the ex-internationals at Ivy’s Hotel in Wakaliga for a brain storming meeting whose deliberations included start of a saving scheme, recognition by FUFA among others.

David Isabirye is a senior staff writer for Kawowo Sports where he covers most of the major events.

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