Douglas Bamweyana

The COVID-19 pandemic has had far reaching effects since it’s outbreak. Almost every sector has been left to it’s knees and the recovery process seems to be a tough phase for many.

Sports equally wasn’t spared with several events/activities either postponed or brought to premature conclusion.

The Uganda Premier League finds itself between a rock and hard place as preparations for the forthcoming campaign take shape.

Whereas H.E Yoweri Kaguta Museveni gave greenlight for sports activities to resume, that came with underlying guidelines that must be followed before activities can restart.

Since his address 8 days ago, the biggest concern for many of football enthusiasts and sports in general was how teams were going to meet some of the mandatory Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) put in place.

One of those was testing of players twice after every fortnight with each test going for UGX 240,000 (about $65).

Robert Ssentongo shields the ball away from Siraje Ssentamu during a league game between Vipers and Kyetume at St Mary’s Stadium in Kitende Credit: John Batanudde

Additionally, the President also indicated that players must be kept in camp during tournaments to avoid risks of getting in contact with the general public.

This is indeed another expense on the teams that must pay for exorbitant amounts of money if this principle must be followed to the dot.

FUFA had initially set 17th October 2020 as the kickoff date for the 2020/21 Uganda Premier League season. But with the late confirmation of the return of sports by Government, an extension seemed inevitable.

And indeed on Saturday as the FUFA Super League Limited (FSLL) held it’s AGM in Seeta, Mukono, the announcement confirming that the league kick-off date will be extended at least by a month (up to about mid November) was made.

The biggest concern for now is how the games will be played considering that there is Africa Nations Championship (CHAN) in January next year. And this stretches up to February.

Justus Mugisha (with microphone) addressing the 7th FSLL

Bearing in mind that the tournament is for only home based players, league games will be called off to allow the national team make preparations.This perhaps would call for a month prior to the tournament. 

With the CHAN tournament kicking off on 16th January, the league would have to be called off before the Christmas break.

Therefore, the question would be how many games would have been played between the time of kickoff in mid November and when the National team is summoned?

The other point of concern is the fact that the Uganda Cranes will be in action in November with a double header against South Sudan in the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.

Uganda Cranes players in a pre-training talk session at GEMS Cambridge, Butabika

The dates for the aforementioned fixtures are 9th and 17th November. This definitely means that the league can only start when the Cranes have finished playing South Sudan.

Finally, when you consider clubs like Vipers SC and KCCA FC who will have to play in the continental-club Competitions, their fixtures will be affected and thus calling for fixtures pilling like it had been the case before.

Joel Muyita

Joel Muyita is a senior staff writer at Kawowo Sports.

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