Can Mulindwa Liberate Ugandan Soccer?
Lawrence Mulindwa

Can Mulindwa Liberate Ugandan Soccer?

Renewed hope for Ugandan soccer.

By Ramathan Kasozi
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First published: December 18, 2005

There is a smile written on the faces of the Ugandan soccer fraternity following Lawrence Mulindwa’s take over of the Federation Of Uganda Football Association (FUFA) office, unopposed. His would be opponent, Chris Rwanika, pulled out of the race last Monday.

Mulindwa was on Saturday sworn in as FUFA president, filling the void left after the forceful suspension of Denis Obua. Mulindwa is expected to name his cabinet soon after.

The 52-year-old St Mary’s Kitende proprietor is seen by many as the “Messiah” sent by God to liberate the drowned ship of Ugandan football.

Why many soccer lovers are putting their hopes in this businessman? In his manifesto, Mulindwa clearly promised everything he could, including a seemingly incredible mission of taking the Uganda Cranes to Ghana 2005 Africa Cup Finals and South Africa 2010 World Cup, bringing the fans back to the stadiums, reviving women soccer among others.

It is only kids born yesterday who can take his gospel for granted. We have had past regimes of Semanobe, Twaha Kakaire and “Mr. Life president” Denis Obua, preaching the same in their quest for the country’s top soccer office; but what happened.

Obua, the man mainly credited for the current sluggish level of football in the country, reached to an extent of calling him self a “live wire” which can electrocute any one who comes against him or questions his way of handling soccer.

And he proved right, since it needed a bulldozer in the names of Hon. Namirembe Bitamazire, the Minister of Education and Sports to oust him from the FUFA offices at Mengo.

Not because I don’t support Mulindwa’s take over of the office, but an-enormous task awaits him, if he is to live up to his Manifesto. His first assignment should be how to lure fans from the Premiership video halls to the local stadiums.

Clubs and national teams are crying foul due to the low turn up of the fans in the stadiums when local matches are being played, yet these teams’ coffers greatly rely on gate collections. If a derby involving the country’s top two giants clubs, Express F.C and Sports club villa can no longer generate 3,000,000 shillings (US$1,700), then what about Idudu f.c. vs. Kinyara Sugar Works.

This requires Mulindwa to go back to the drawing board and correct the image of the game in the country. The game is now characterized by mismanagement and corruption among other inadequacies. The fans and sponsors will board the FUFA bus by them selves. The superbly organized Masaza and Bika tournaments (by the Buganda kingdom) prove my argument.

Establishment of soccer academies aiding the already exiting ones, like Edger’s limited, KKl among others, should be emphasized and all super league clubs should emulate Sc Villa who have started reaping the fruits of having a soccer nursery.

Also, the current cranes squad should be maintained with exception of some few old guards who have reached their diminishing points.

People like Ibrahim Mugusha, former crowd darling, Hassan ‘Figo’ Mubiru, Philip Ssozi, Marley Byekwanso and company, have hard their share and it may be time for them to leave the podium to young stars like Express F.C’s Eaglet Nicholas and Sc Villa’s exciting trio of Ronald Mugaga, Augustine Nsumba and Oscar Agaba.

But remember a teacher matters a lot. A right choice, based on merit, should be made to coach the team.

Moshir-Mohamad Abbas handled six matches in the last Africa Cup of Nations qualifier campaign as head coach but registered a win and draw, scoring 4 goals against 9. What a record for a professional tactician!! Any way, it is alleged that the Egyptian is a physical trainer but not a coach. Doesn’t he deserve to book the next flight to Cairo as Mulindwa looks for a qualified replacement?

Even if all these issues are rectified and the new FUFA President brings back the old faces from the past FUFA regimes in his cabinet as I predict, it will be more of an old wine in a new bottle. We all need a savior for our soccer and hope Mulindwa will not disappoint us. Hopefully, he will carry out his promise of appointing people on merit as he promised recently.

By Ramathan Kasozi
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First published: December 18, 2005
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Ramathan Kasozi is a member of Ultimate Media Consult (U) Ltd. . A graduate Journalist, Kasozi has more than 5 years experience reporting on sports in Uganda for different print and broadcast media houses.