The Guest of Honour, Maj Gen Muhoozi Kainerugaba, Commander of the Special Forces Command
The FUFA President, Eng. Moses Magogo
The UPL Board
The Uganda Premier League Club chairmen
The Uganda Cranes Coach
The Uganda Premier League largest sponsor, Azam TV
Ladies and Gentlemen: I welcome you all to the Azam Uganda Premier League Awards 2016
On behalf of the Uganda Premier League Board, I am very privileged and humbled to stand before you, the nation and the region to speak about the Azam Premier League Awards and the state of Football in Uganda.
In particular, I am very excited by the acceptance of the Chief Guest, Maj. Gen Muhoozi Kainerugaba, to grace this occasion with so much ease and down to earthiness. He did not hesitate when I invited him. He simply asked for the venue and what time the event was going to kick off. I thank you General!
Gen. Muhoozi is a Young man like many of us here. He represents the spirit and aspirations of so many young people engaged in various sports disciplines, especially those that we are awarding today. I thank you General for making the time to come and at short notice. I thank you my brother for your support to the football fraternity, this evening. We are grateful.
Ladies and Gentlemen: Today marks a very important chapter in Ugandan football. We are awarding the best performers not because they made tremendous feats in the game during the last season. We are celebrating ourselves, just everyone, for a peaceful, stable and very organized season in the recent history of the Uganda Premier League.
I want to assure every Ugandan, that we will not accept, ever again, a chaotic league. We are determined to serve above self to make Ugandan Football, Great Again!
My board and I have been at the helm of Ugandan football for only 9 months earning no salary but sacrificing everything we have to Make Ugandan Football Great Again. During this period, and as you might have noticed on the screens, we discovered that the beautiful game is dogged by the following 11 bottlenecks.
2. Mala Administration
4. Ideological Disorientation
5. Poor Funding
6. Lack of Political Will in sports
7. Poor or non-existent sports infrastructure
8. Poor welfare for sportsmen and women
9. Limited sponsorship and private sector participation
10. A negative media that is foreign sports oriented.
11. A poor fan base
Amidst this state of affairs, we found that there are 11 positives about Ugandan Football:
1. We are blessed with a great country full of talent (We are No. 14 in Africa).
2. Football can create National Unity
3. Football has Potential for branding this nation at no cost
4. Football has Potential for multiplying tourism
5. Football has the Potential for job creation through talent development
6. Football has the Potential for business (suppliers for sports merchandise and etc)
7. Football has Potential for political and social mobilization
8. Football is Better labour export avenue for our children than the existing channels through which our brothers and sisters are working as slave maids and guards in foreign countries
9. Football is potential attraction for Foreign Direct Investment e.g. Shs. 5.4bn Azam Sponsorship is in our economy
10. Football is a great avenue for nurturing and discerning Patriotism
Ladies and Gentlemen: My Board and I have a promise to you before we come back here next year!
We shall adopt the following STRATEGIC AND TACTICAL MEASURES to redress this situation.
1. Vigorously re-build political will in Ugandan sport especially football. The private sector can only be on board if it believes politicians believe in sport.
2. We are going to lobby Parliament to start a Sports Caucus. To hell with tribal caucuses in parliament.
3. We are going to engage the Ministry of Education and Sport for a genuine dialogue on how to increase sports funding in Uganda and structure it for the better.
4. We shall engage the Uganda Tourism Board to map sports and reap benefits for the country.
5. We shall advocate for a Uganda Sports Authority as well as a Sports Fund similar to the Uganda Road Fund and the Energy Fund to redress this problem of funding.
6. We shall Push for establishment of Sports Infrastructure everywhere
7. We will lobby for better budgeting for Sports
8. We will create bankable audiences for the private sector to cash in and brand.
9. We will work hard and Qualify for the Africa Cup of Nations and the World Cup
10. We will Build better clubs to attract FDIs like happens in Europe, the US and China.
But above all this, We can only win if we, together, promise ourselves to MAKE UGANDAN FOOTBALL GREAT AGAIN!
For the 1978 team who pushed this great country to the limits and took us to the Africa Cup of Nations finals in Ghana, LET’S MAKE UGANDAN FOOTBALL GREAT AGAIN!
For the great men and women who started this league 50 years ago, LET’S MAKE UGANDAN FOOTBALL GREAT AGAIN!
For those great companies who trusted this league with their money but quit, LET’S MAKE UGANDAN FOOTBALL GREAT AGAIN and bring them back on board.
For the super league heroes and legends: Magid Musisi, Kirunda, George Ssemwogerere, Edgar Watson, Ssekajja, Dhaira, Sadique Wasswa, Paul Hasule, Mukasa Fimbo etc LET’S MAKE UGANDAN FOOTBALL GREAT AGAIN!
For the professionals who are marketing this country through football: Farouk Miya, Sekajja, Massa and Onyango etc, LET’S MAKE UGANDAN FOOTBALL GREAT AGAIN!
For The poor children who live in slums but their only hope to make it in life is through talent, LET’S MAKE UGANDAN FOOTBALL GREAT AGAIN for them and give them a chance.
For the long suffering Ugandan fans who dream of an Africa Cup of Nations Trophy, LET’S MAKE UGANDAN FOOTBALL GREAT AGAIN! For them.
And for the youths who make a fortune selling groundnuts and other paraphernalia during football games, LET’S MAKE UGANDAN FOOTBALL GREAT AGAIN!
FINALLY: To you who are going to win various prizes. Take them seriously. Commit every drop of your blood to this game and improve. We are here to support you and make things better for you. And we are not going to give up. Kick your ball and leave the rest to us.
Ladies and Gentlemen: I want to thank you all for gracing this occasion. You have proven that Ugandan football is taking giant leaps and is being discussed in 5 star hotels, not down town!
Special Thanx to:
My board, The club chairmen, Sponsors: Azam, NBL,Tropical Bank, Stanbic Bank, NBS TV, KONKA, Crown Beverages, Namboole stadium, The players who make our beautiful game happen, FUFA of the guidance you give to the board, the organizers especially, KIBO Media and the UPL Secretariat led by the CEO, the Media and finally, my personal friends who are here to grace this occasion.