With around 3.5 billion fans, association football is the world’s most watched, practiced, and bet on sports.
It is so popular that it has become the national sport in several countries, especially those in Africa because they share one colonial history.
From serving as the voice of freedom in Nigeria, this page walks you through its centuries worth history in the Pearl of Africa, Uganda.
How it started
The early Anglican Church Missionaries from the U.K. introduced the beautiful game to Uganda in the late 19th century. They were Robert Henry Walker, George Lawrence Pilkington and Alexander Gordon Fraser, each with their own significant contributions to the sport’s growth in the country.
Rev. Archdeacon Walker of the Namirembe Church Missionary was the first who arranged to send football to Uganda in 1897. As such, many records point that he is the godfather of football in the country.
Cambridge athlete Mr. Pilikington supported Rev. Archdeacon Walker’s plan. He diligently taught football to the boys at a mixed day school in Kampala called Mengo Senior School — marking the sport’s future into a national game with additional activities like sports betting with Bitcoin in Uganda.
That was the sport’s raw form in the country — a few casual kickabouts between friendly matches on a large grass field.
Uganda welcomed the 1900s with football’s further development. Missionary Fraser sponsored a soccer field at King’s School Budo, a mixed, residential secondary school initially established for the sons of Ugandan chiefs.
The King’s School Budo was among the key institutions to the furtherance of football in Uganda, as it was the home to the first semi-organised football tournaments and teams. By 1911, the notable clubs were Nsambya FC and Budo.
How it is now
In 1924, the Kampala Football Association (KFA) was founded to what is now known as the Federation of Uganda Football Associations (FUFA). They are the governing body of football in the country, responsible for the men and women’s national football teams as well as the national football league.
Yet before there were any leagues for the current promotion and relegation ladder in Uganda, the first and foremost major football cup tournament was the Kabaka’s Cup. It was presented by Daudi Chewa II, the 34th Kabaka of Buganda. By 1950, it already had more than 30 teams competing every year.
Then, more cup events followed in Uganda, such as Aspro Cup, Buganda FA Challenge Cup, Coronation Cup, Luwangula Cup, Victory Cup and Wardle Cup. It wasn’t until 1971 when the Ugandan Cup was created and overthrown Kabaka’s Cup as the country’s most prestigious cup competition.
The football pyramid of Uganda
Founded in 1968, it is the country’s top-flight league consisting of 16 teams that are as follows. Clubs at the bottom rankings are relegated to the Ugandan Big League, and those with the lowest scores in the second tier are relegated to the Regional Leagues.
Football clubs and their settlements:
● Bright Stars | Kampala
● Bul FC | Jinja
● Express | Kampala
● KCCA FC | Kampala
● Busoga United FC | Jinja
● Maroons FC | Kampala
● Mbarara City FC | Mbarara
● Ndejje University FC | Ndejje
● Nyamityobora FC | Mbarara
● Onduparaka FC | Onduparaka, Arua
● Paidha Black Angels FC | Paidha, Zombo
● Police FC | Jinja
● SC Villa | Kampala
● Soana | Kampala
● Uganda Revenue Authority FC | Kampala
● Vipers SC | Wakiso