Future of Ugandan Soccer Lies in Academies
The Brazil of Africa: Kampala Kids League.

Future of Ugandan Soccer Lies in Academies


Frank Rijkard- Uganda a rough diamond?

By Ramathan Kasozi
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First published: February 23, 2007


A couple of weeks ago, Uganda's national U-23 soccer team the Kobs, were thrashed 2-nil in Johannesburg by fellow age mates of the Republic of South Africa in the 1st leg of the 2008 Beijing Olympic qualifiers. The result renders Laszlo Csaba's boys a mountain to climb in the 2nd leg, as they have to overturn the deficit to 3-0 if they are to book a vacancy in the finals.


To make matters worse, the return leg date coincides with the senior team- the Cranes' fixture against the mighty Nigeria in the 2008 Ghana African Cup of finals. The football governing body FUFA and the national coach Laszlo Csaba find themselves locked in dilemma as more than five influential players feature in both sides.

SC Villa's 20 year old play maker Augustine Nsumba, workhorse Anthony Bongoole, Ethiopian based center back Hassan Wasswa, custodian Denis Onyango, attacking mid fielder, Ronald Muganga and Egypt based marksman Godfrey Massa though suspended against Nigeria, are some of the some of the players who feature in both teams.

This however should be a blessing in disguise for the country to serve as a wake for Lawrence Mulindwa's FUFA to consider a need to facilitate and expand the mushrooming nurseries in the country from where players can be picked. True, most of these academies are individually owned but it should be boldly noted that the fruits accrue to the whole nation.





Edgar's Youth Programme
edgarssoccer.com

Some of the vibrant academies include, Edgars Ltd, owned by the former Cranes and SC Villa royalty Edgar Watson, Mujib Kasule's Prop Line Academy, Trevor Dudley's KKL, Friends of Football to mention but a few. The organization and the talents in these academies only leaves you contented that with adequate facilitation in years to come, the sky can be the limit for the East African nation.

Trevor Dudley
Trevor Dudley
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With all the efforts and professional management of Trevor Dudley, Kampala Kids League U-14, has dominated the Gothia Cup- an equivalent of the Kids World cup, winning three consecutive titles hence the tag, the Brazil of Africa.

The efforts of Dudley has further earned Uganda recognition worldwide as evidenced by the various invitation by the various world's heavy weight Clubs. About a month ago, KKL visited their age mates of the Spanish and European Champions FC Barcelona and despite losing to the hosts 3-0 at the intimidating Nou Camp stadium, even Frank Rijkard was convinced that Uganda has a rough diamond that only needs polishing.

During the era of Micho Sredojevich at Villa Park as the Club's head coach, he initiated a very good youth structure and now the results are eminent as the a core of SC Villa's current squad are graduates from this academy.

Wonder kid Augustine Nsumba, Mid field dynamo Jeremiah Ssebuyira, Oscar Agaba, U-23 international attack minded right full back Yusuf Juuko, Steven Bengo, Eric Kamya, sweeper Mike Azira- to mention but a few, are some of the incredible graduates from this nursery. Watching them displaying their talents only leaves you convinced that it's only a matter of inexperience separating SC Villa from regaining its fading status.

The other notable talents from the other academies include United States based Steven Nsereko and the two Semwogereres, Tom the ATRACO FC defender and Hamza, the Express FC entertaining younger star.

The emergence of such talents is enough to remove the blind fold from FUFA's face so that they start facilitating these academies in every aspect needed in the development of the game.

Age cheating has always been a menace in the selection of these national junior teams and has greatly beleaguered the development of the game in the country. Considering the fact that production of a birth certificate is a must for any player before joining these nurseries is enough to demand FUFA's intervention.

It is a shame that as the Kobs were planning to depart for South Africa for the first leg, FUFA on the eleventh hour had to query the presence of Dan Wagaluka, Patrick Ochan and left full back Lawrence Segawa in the U-23 team despite their passports putting them in that bracket. The omission of the trio affected Csaba's game plan as they were supposed to be the king pin of the team.

Cranes inspirational player maker David Obua claims that he is 22years, but has every Ugandan soccer lover scratching their head over his exclusion from the U-23 team since he qualifies. Mind you, this Keiser Chiefs Super star, featured in the local Super league in 1996 with Police FC. Could it be that he made a record to feature in the league at 13 years?

This reminds me a couple of years back, when ex-international goalie Ibrahim Kongo, disclosed his age but when you subtracted the years he had featured in the league, the difference was only three years.

Bearing in mind the above scenarios, it is up to FUFA to go back to the drawing board and invest from the grassroots or continue with the status quo.

By Ramathan Kasozi
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First published: February 23, 2007
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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.