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    16 Clubs Is A Crowd For The Uganda Premier League.



    Michael Birungi of Express FC faces two Onduparaka FC players on Saturday 10th February 2018 in a game that ended 0-0 at the greenlight stadium in Arua. The state of the pitch and the standing fans is an example of poor facilities faced by fans and players in UPL.

    The Uganda Premier League (UPL) has 16 clubs yet most of the European leagues that Ugandans follow have 20 clubs. Recently there was an idea (the kind of rumor you hope doesn’t have any truth to it) UPL would be expanded from 16 to 20 clubs. Some football followers in Uganda might support the idea but if anyone is closely following UPL they wouldn’t support the idea. The general thinking amongst most Ugandans is that in a 20 team league, players get to play almost 40 matches per season and apparently a professional footballer should play an average of 40 matches a season.

    Grapevine Sports’ Ben Mwesigwa (@mwesben on twitter) breaks down why UPL should have fewer clubs.

    Football has players, officials, administrators, coaches, fans/supporters, clubs and parents as stakeholders. Football in Uganda is not yet developed because the stakeholders mentioned are still operating at a very low capacity. For instance: the ratio of footballers per qualified coach is about 10,000:1 meaning that for every 10,000 players you have one coach that can handle that group. The number of qualified referees is still very low too. As for administrators, we still don’t have highly qualified club C.E.O’s that can sit in a meeting to identify problems faced by clubs and come up with solutions to implement and solve problems.

    As for clubs themselves, they have a very low capacity to operate as clubs. 99.9% of Football clubs in Uganda don’t own a training ground and use poor quality surfaces, structures like stadiums are either lacking, dilapidated or poor maintained, there’s no club structure in place to show how to market the club, attract fans, developing players through a club structure is not in place. To make it worse, you just have to follow the FUFA Junior’s League (FJL) and realize that most of the 16 clubs don’t run their own U-18 teams but outsource players from schools. The problems faced by clubs are way too many.

    With all those problems, here is what happens in the UPL; The second round fixture requires crossed fingers to go according to plan, most clubs can’t afford to hire qualified club administrators, can’t hire the right number of qualified coaches, can’t afford medical expenses, don’t have home grounds, poor training facilities, don’t make money from gate collections, clubs are not properly run to make business sense. All these problems create a mountain for UPL administrators, especially when it comes to making the fixture.

    With 16 clubs in the UPL, making a fixture requires rocket science, the fixture is usually released very late which affects planning and budgeting for teams and fans. The second round fixture is always separate and released one week before start of the second round. All this creates uncertainty and affects proper planning and training by clubs.


    Our society is faced with a lot of copy and paste syndrome, we forget that we are copying solutions from societies that have different problems from ours. Federation of Uganda Football Associations (FUFA) and UPL need to be very creative. Ugandan football has unique problems which require unique solutions. FUFA and UPL need to be very ruthless too.

    Development will most times require being ruthless which will affect most people in the short run but will benefit the future generations forever, In Uganda we tend to be very lenient, this leniency hampers development which makes us stagnate or develop at snail pace. That explains why football in Uganda is developing at a very slow rate yet we have a huge gap to catch up with.

    FUFA has the mandate to come up with a demanding club licensing system for clubs eligible to participate in the UPL. Ruthlessness can be applied in a lenient way by setting deadlines.

    First of all, the number of clubs has to be reduced from 16 to 10 clubs. Then come up with a creative way for the clubs to play 28 matches in a season. Clubs too need to be given criteria like which club structure to adopt, the qualified human resource to be hired in that structure, the quality of facilities to have and everything that would be desirable for a league to be run very well.  At this point FUFA and UPL would meet clubs and inform them that starting with the 2020-21 season only ten clubs that will have met the following criteria will be licensed to play in the top flight league, the criteria goes on for the lower leagues too. That is an example of being ruthless in a lenient way. The clubs are informed two seasons in advance then they start owning up to their problems and how to solve them.

    Having fewer clubs in the top flight league would enable UPL and FUFA to operate with the available resources, it would develop competitiveness which would bring about rapid development. The league can always grow and have 20 clubs as we all want but those 20 clubs should have their own stadiums (I mean real stadiums), quality training grounds, good health and medical services for all involved in football. They should also be proper clubs with every club structure operating in practice.


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    She Cranes Star Nuba Reveals Why She Decided To Play For Uganda Not South Sudan; Why She Regrets Giving Birth Early…



    She Cranes player Mary Nuba

    Born in South Sudan but grew in Uganda, that’s the story of the She Cranes goal shooter Mary Nuba Cholhok who was voted as the best shooter in the just concluded Fast5 Series tournament which was held in New Zealand.

    Uganda emerged in fifth position in the tournament. theGrapevine had a chance to talk to Nuba before she went back to England for her professional career.

    Grapevine: Why did you decide to play for Uganda and not for your native country South Sudan?

    Nuba: South Sudan is still lagging behind in Netball and I’m getting old, that’s why I decided to play for Uganda’s She Cranes.

    Grapevine: What challenges have you faced so far in your career?

    Nuba: Thinking about my five-year baby who stays in Uganda yet I’m in England playing for my professional club.

    Grapevine: Then what about your husband [the baby’s father] ?

    Nuba: I’m not married, though I gave birth.

    Mary Nuba was awarded Fans player of the Fast5 Series tournament

    Grapevine: How did you manage giving birth and playing Netball?

    Nuba: I realized that later that I made a mistake of getting pregnant. But I stood on my feet, forgot all the past and decided to move on with my child and my career.

    Grapevine: How do you manage those good performances?

    Nuba: I work very hard ever day in order to achieve my goals.

    Grapevine: Where do you see She Cranes in four years to come?

    Nuba: I see She Cranes winning the Netball World cup because we have good players who are still young.

    Grapevine: Tell us about the best game in your career?

    Nuba: When we defeated South Africa in the Common Wealth games in Birmingham.

    Grapevine: Who’s your role model in the game of Netball?

    Nuba: Peace Proscovia because of the way she managed to lift her life from a poor background. She is now superstar in the game.



    By Juma Ali


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    MIRACLE: All She Cranes Players Return After Incidents Of Players Disappearing While On Duty Abroad…



    She Cranes players and one of the start player Goal Shooter Mary Cholhok Nuba

    It was a miracle this time around after all the She Cranes players returned from New Zealand.

    It has been a habit for some Netball players to escape when the team travels for international tournaments.

    Just last month, two She Cranes players; Nakanyike Shakira, who was a Police Player and Rose Namutebi, who was a KCCA Player, disappeared in UK, during She Cranes international friendlies.

    The disappearance of these two players followed the disappearance of centre Player, Halimah Nakachwa, who disappeared in UK, in 2017 during another international friendly in UK.

    However, this time around, all the nine players who went for the first five series tournament in New Zealand, where She Cranes emerged fifth, after wining three games and losing three games, all returned with the team.

    National players disappearing while on duty abroad is also a habit in other sports disciplines like; boxing, table tennis, Rugby among others.


    By Juma Ali


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    It’s Time For Golola To Rest: I’m Going To Punch Him Into Retirement – General Fungu Vows…



    Moses Golola (L) and General Fungu (R)

    General Hamza Fungu has vowed to fight Moses Golola and send him into retirement come 26th December. 2022.

    Fungu said this during the launch at Akamwesi gardens today.

    Uganda’s middle weight kick boxing champion, Golola Moses is set to face his former trainer, General Hamza Fungu on bixing day at Akamwesi shopping mail gardens.

    Golola, who is known for his many words said that he has beaten many fighters who were better than Fungu, “now look at this piglet, I’m going to show him why I’m called Golola Moses ‘of Uganda ‘  and I call upon Ugandans to come and be witnesses on that day.”

    Though Golola said that he signed a contract which allows both fighters to fight until one gets tired, officials in charge of organizing the show said they will fight K-1 style for five rounds.

    Grapevine had a chance to sit down with Golola’s challenger General Fungu and and this is what he had to say;

    theGrapevine: How are you prepared for this fight?

    Fungu: I’m well prepared but they have also given us enough time. So, I’m going to prepare more.

    theGrapevine: Why, among fighters did you choose Golola?

    Fungu: I have been asking to fight Golola for the last five years but he has been dodging me. He one time asked for 20,000 dollars to fight me.

    theGrapevine: Why do you think he accepted this time around?

    Fungu: I think this time, he has been given a lot of money.

    theGrapevine: Which tactics are you going to use to defeat Golola?

    Fungu : Golola has words but I have the tactics which will defeat Golola.

    theGrapevine: Many people have come out to challenge Golola but he finally wins?

    Fungu : He has been favoured many times.

    theGrapevine: Is it true that the contract you signed for the fight allows you to fight until one of you gets tired?

    Fungu : The contract is a disadvantage to Golola not me because I was born a fighter.

    theGrapevine: What next after this fight?

    Fungu : After this fight, I will fight three more three bouts and retire.


    By Juma Ali


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