Year To Forget For Ugandan Football


The 2013 calendar finally stopped counting but is not one Ugandan football can be proud of.

We have had some measurably decent tales in some corners, highly hilarious in others, and downright unfathomable in cases where leaders have demonstrated incomprehensible foolhardiness.

For the second year running we had two leagues kicking off their respective 2013/14 seasons, a cancer carried over from the previous campaign; and lawlessness continued to thrive among local football administrators.

As a result, we cannot boast of a credible single topflight league, nor can we brag of a wholly embraced local FA.

The year has also seen Cranes sack a coach and hire a new one, Fufa president Lawrence Mulindwa decline to seek a third term and Moses Magogo elected by the General Assembly to replace him amidst legal contestations.

Let us see where football raised a decent face and an ugly one in 2013.

The downright ugly The beginning of 2013 had a lot of promises, and boy - we dreamed.

We dreamed of a New Year ushering in a new dawn of one unchallenged topflight league, which was fully backed by sponsors.

We also went folly of the proverbial government pronouncement regarding the wrangles that have ripped apart football's soul.

Even after government ruled after several probes that there be one legal league, the egoistic football leaders could care less for as long as their inflated self-worth was satisfied.

As doom would have it, the Fufa Super League (FSL), formed in 2012 after disagreements with the Uganda Super League (USL), kicked off, so did the USL.

Although the USL later halted their business on the pitch offering to wait for government to come good on their promised course of action regarding governance of the game and at the same time continuing their cause in courts of law.

As you read this, local football clubs continue to go months without pay since they do not bring in sizeable money, if any, and other sports like rugby, cricket and basketball have paid the price by missing out on international TV audience since sponsors have halted their dealings with the local league.

The scenario remains one of pretence that everything is perfect.

Government let-down Once again government let the game down, with ultimatums dating way back to January 31, 2013 for Fufa and USL to have come up with one league passing without any truce.

Even after the line ministry instigated a probe geared at having one league, which probe led to a task -force to fast track a new Sports Policy, nothing was forthcoming.

The Education and Sports Minister Jessica Alupo sought legal interpretation from the Solicitor General regarding the local federation's status, to which the SG confirmed Fufa went against the local laws in registering a national association as a limited company - and recommended its disbandment sometime in July.

But the intervention of higher government authorities under the guise of Uganda's likelihood of beating Senegal and perhaps qualify for the 2014 World Cup play-offs saw action delayed.

From then on government has failed to commit on record whether it recognises the two leagues or Moses Magogo's new Fufa regime, especially after the Constitutional Court issued a temporary injunction stopping government bodies from dealing with Fufa Limited and its activities.

Magogo replaced Mulindwa, who sought not to run for a third term.

The situation remains that of uncertainty, with Fufa and USL waiting and hoping the undecided government finally goes to bed with one of them.

And that is how we enter 2014 but hoping for better.

World Cup campaign, Bobby sack Infrequently do Uganda stay the distance in the World Cup qualifying with a chance of making the play-offs till the last day but they did this time, only falling to Senegal 1-0 in Marrakech as the Lions of Teranga made the play-offs, only to be bundled out by Ivory Coast.

Having, yet again, failed to make the 2013 Afcon, the Cranes were left to fight on in the World Cup qualifiers under coach Bobby Williamson.

With the Scot, they managed just two points in the opening three games against Angola (away), Senegal (home) and Liberia (away).

And that 2-0 away loss to Liberia was the spark in the works.

Of course in footballing sense, results did not back the Scot to stay on but it has to be noted that his dismissal was more of a 'save-face' business from Fufa, who were under public pressure over their own failings in the development of the game.

And in came Micho Sredojevic in May, who had been shown the exit in Rwanda having accumulated just one point from his first three WC qualifying games, one less than Bobby's.

Micho did go on to win his first two competitive games against Liberia and Angola (home), all WC qualifiers, before Senegal stopped Uganda's dreams.

Cecafa honeymoon ends For only the second time in the last six years Uganda, who were eliminated in the quarterfinals by Tanzania, do not have the regional trophy in their cabinet, but progress was seen with players like Martin Mpuuga and Savio Kabugo giving a glimpse of promise in defence, Khalid Aucho making a statement in front of the back four and Daniel Sserunkuma making his statement that he is ready for the 2015 Afcon qualifiers.

But while those positives were noted, Micho will hope he made the right call when he didn't take any of the Chan eligible strikers to Cecafa.

Cecafa was mainly a build-up Chan but in having Sserunkuma (Gor Mahia, Kenya), Hamis Kiiza and Emmanuel Okwi (both Yanga, Tanzania) alone at Cecafa, the Serb finds himself playing novice strikers in South Africa.

Chan 2014 In terms of results, this was just about the only feat to smile about.

In dully eliminating Tanzania (4-1 agg), the Cranes secured their ticket to South Africa, where they have been grouped alongside Burkina Faso, Zimbabwe and Morocco.

This qualification strangely came despite the anarchy in the league back home.

Arsenal fan loses house And when we thought it was all the dirty linen in local football, one Arsenal fan implored some laughter from us, forgive the laugh, though.

This staunch Gunners fan in Iganga District, Eastern Uganda, was left searching for a new home for his family back in November after losing his house in a bet over a game between English clubs Arsenal and Manchester United.

Before the two heavyweights faced off in the league, a one Henry Dhabasani staked his two-roomed house in a bet with Rashid Yiga, a United fan, that Arsenal would win the game, the Observer - a Ugandan newspaper, reported.

On his part, Yiga staked his new Toyota Premio car and his wife that Manchester United would win.

'The two put their stake in writing, with local leaders and fans witnessing the deed,' the paper further reported.

Dhabasani, married to three wives with five children, fainted at the end of the match on realizing Arsenal had lost the game 1-0.

The following day, a Monday, several Manchester United fans stormed Dhabasani's home and threw him and his family out.

The story made headlines internationally and was the most liked story on supersport.

com then.