Big League Clubs in Dire Need of Funding

1401 Views Soroti, Uganda

In short
Although the tier serves as the qualification cycle for the Uganda Premier League, Club performances within have remained below par with little or no hope of progressing. League competitions come as a burden to the nonsalaried coaches and players who are now pleading for financial support to boost their ability to nurture sporting talent from the countryside.

Football clubs participating in the Uganda Big league, the second tier of the Federation of Uganda Football Associations, are struggling to maintain their presence in the tournament due lack of resources. 

Although the tier serves as the qualification cycle for the Uganda Premier League, Club performances within have remained below par with little or no hope of progressing. League competitions come as a burden to the nonsalaried coaches and players who are now pleading for financial support to boost their ability to nurture sporting talent from the countryside.

The plea was made by teams from Teso sub region, home to Soroti Garage FC, Ngora Freda Carr and Kumi United FC.

Soroti Garage for instance has produced enviable talent in the recent past and only missed joining the Uganda Premier league last season (2012-2013) by a whisker.  At the end of the season, the team was second placed in the Elgon group behind CRO FC which only had a slightly better goal difference but with the same number of points.

But despite such promising performances, the team can hardly afford meals, Transport and accommodation for its staff.  Sometimes players are advised to carry their own meals and cater for their transport.

This, notwithstanding a four-year sponsorship deal signed by FUFA President Moses Magogo and Airtel Telecommunications one year ago. The package provided a total of Ugx 400 million (about US$ 160,000) towards funding different activities under both the FUFA Big League and the Ugandan Cup until 2016.

Juma Ibrahim Ntale, the Manager Soroti Garage F.C. told URN that the club needs up to Ugx 30 million to cater for accommodation, transport, meals and registration needs each season. He says more funding would be needed to provide allowances and motivation to players and staff, in line with the standards that were set by FUFA for the clubs.

According to the FUFA Competitions Committee, member clubs need to maintain a sound bank account, stadia that meet FUFA standards as well as qualified coaches and doctors. FUFA also requires the clubs to pay Ugx 250,000 in registration fees, maintain an office or physical address with a fixed telephone line and employ a secretary with a minimum O-level qualification.

But FUFA Delegate John Odong, the Secretary Soroti Garage FC told URN that the resource envelope is too limited to enable them operate within the stipulated guidelines.

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The Secretary Kumi United FC, Richard Ochom says that the league has enabled them identify talent in Teso but the lack of motivation spells doom for the sports industry.

He points out that Big League competition is very expensive and the burden of maintaining the players has fallen back to them as individuals who have to dig deep into their personal resources whenever the club goes for competitions.

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Similar problems are also faced by Ngora Fred Carr FC. Julius Opolot, the team chairperson says they are facing difficulties in running the team although they sometimes receive minimal assistance from Ngora Fred Carr Hospital.

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A total of 25 Football clubs are participating in the Big League.
 

 

About the author

Salume Among
Salume Among is the Mbale URN bureau chief. Among has been a URN staff member since 2012.

Among started her career in 2000 as a freelance writer for Etop newspaper before starting to write for its mother paper, The New Vision. She also wrote for the Vision Group's XFM radio station from 2008 until she left to join URN.

Among has a keen interest in local politics having been a youth representative in the Soroti variously between 1996 and 2010. Among also regularly reports on health, education, the environment and sports.