A Bugisu fan cheers his province

In 2018, Federation of Uganda Football Associations (FUFA) mooted the idea of the FUFA Drum (Inter-Provinces) tournament.

For obvious reasons, eye brows were raised questioning the essence and timing of this championships that would be played across the 16 provinces of the country along the theme “Celebrating Our Ancestry”.

A Lango fans blows the Vuvuzela to cheer his side

Sportingly, many claimed that there would be a fixture congestion on the domestic front; adding to the elite Uganda Premier League, Uganda Cup, the regional leagues, Masaza Cup, University Football League (UFL), Bika tournament and other football competitions.

But, the tournament brains reasoned otherwise.

The FUFA Drum would provide a platform for more competitions for all the players across the divide, healthy rivalries among the 16 provinces, provide an avenue for promotion of different cultural heritages- a linkage to domestic tourism, among other key benefits.

Bugisu’s goalkeeper Edward Kasibante in action during the 2019 FUFA Drum tournament in Lira

From Kampala, Buganda, Busoga, Bugisu, Bukedi, Teso,  Lango, Acholi, West Nile, Tooro, Ankole, Bunyoro, Rwenzori, Kigezi, Sebei to the Karamoja, the football dust rose up as the Drum was sounded aloud.

Rogers Byamukama, the chairperson of the FUFA Drum local organizing committee time over and again reiterated the essence of this championship whose founding ideology was birthed by Moses Magogo, the President of FUFA.

“Under the wise leadership of Moses Magogo, the FUFA Drum Tournament was born. This tournament like its theme spells aloud, ‘celebrating our ancestry’, it indeed helped to celebrate ancestry in diversity across the entire country” Byamukama remarks.

Rogers Byamukama(R) and Moses Magogo (L)

Fans from the different provinces passionately cheered their respective team with all the zeal, determination and enthusiasm.

In unison, the each of the provinces chorused their anthems and chanting songs with passion and enthusiasm. Prior to, during and after each of the matches, there was life between the fans of the respective provinces.

Home or away, it remained a fiesta of sorts with fans creating fan park-environs, blowing aloud whistles, trumpets, favellas, traditional horns, vuvuzelas, drumming and other musical instruments.

Fans were “dressed to kill” to suit the occasion with their traditional outfits in typical merry making mood.

Fans enjoying the moment of the FUFA Drum

For traveling fans, it remained a huge once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to tour the respective places and explore new places as well.

This presented a strong case for domestic tourism as a couple of tourists sites around the country were visited a day to the matches and thereafter.

From natural resources of wildlife in flora and fauna, national parks, water bodies (Rivers, Lakes, Water-falls and Hot Springs), escarpments and mountains, the fans further ventured their country to the brim using the FUFA Drum platform.

A vivid case in point of the natural features in the limelight included; the famous Ngetta Hills in Lira Municipality, The Source of the Nile in Jinja, Sipi Falls in Kapchorwa, lakes and rivers as well as the numerous hot springs; Kitagata, Ntoroko, Rwajimba, Sempaya and many others.

Kitagata Hot springs in Sheema District
The famous Ngetta Hills overlook the new Akii Bua Stadium in Lira. It is a big tourist site

Besides the domestic tourism, there was a chance to interact with different cultures of people, try out and learn new dialects, different dances and yes, the enticing tasty food varieties.

Hotels, Lodges and other places of accommodation made quite a fortune from the thousands of hundreds who visited the various places throughout the tournament duration.

It is merry making and celebrating at every FUFA Drum match
Passionate fans with painted faces
All races and tribes are merged by the FUFA Drum Tournament

Buganda won the inaugural edition inn 2018, Acholi smiled to the subsequent version but the 2020 tournament was disrupted by the Coronavirus pandemic.

Hopefully, there is a lot in stock for the players, sponsors and fans coming to the 2021 edition.

The FUFA Drum, a typical exemplification of the football fetes, fiestas and domestic tourism.

The Acholi versus West Nile match at the Pece Stadium was one of the best attended matches of the FUFA Drum in 2019

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

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