WHO’S IN CHARGE???!!!
We all prepare for our days differently.Some before we go to bed, others as soon as we wake and I personally do it in between. I start to plan my day subconsciously in my sleep shortly before I wake. Call it a dream, vision or whatever you like and as soon as I wake I immediately write something down lest I forget while I take an ice cold shower considering the rain loves Kampala mornings.
Enough about the weird stuff, who is in charge of sports decisions in our country? Do they really care? Is it just another avenue to make a quick buck? These are the questions that attacked my subconscious this morning and I made a decision just before my eyes opened that I would either dedicate my Facebook status to that or simply post my first blog, which I set-up in 2011 but somehow avoided like…(i will try to avoid Uganda police accountability humour).
Lets take a quick glance at football. There have been so many wrangles in the sport with insufficient support coming from ‘above.’ We excelled in failing (borrowing this from Mourinho) to participate in Africa Nations Cup since the late 70s and that is where I will put my emphasis on the sport. My mother used to tell me stories about her times in Nabbingo during the time of the white sisters. The headmistress would do whatever she could to make sure they had breakfast, break tea, lunch, evening tea then dinner last (emphasis on the evening tea). When the administration changed and the first Ugandan sister (catholic sister) took over, she immediately dropped the ‘biscuits for evening tea foreign culture’ and replaced it with SWEET POTATOES! When the students complained, she retorted ‘you are complaining like you come close to having biscuits at home, this isn’t Christmas!’ Once, Uganda was served with ‘biscuits’ in Bobby (don’t worry cakes are better plus there is so much more that is better than biscuits) then moved to ‘potatoes,’ Micho (I will not mince my words on that). Yes Bobby Williamson was an expensive choice just like UMEME but not sure what to say about Micho. You have been relieved of your duties prematurely from almost every team you have coached and instead of Uganda progressing from Bobby, we said NOOOOO, let us take the cheaper option after all he is comfortable with it and it serves our interests ‘foreign coach oyeee’ being cheap is huge bonus thrown in there. Begs the question, is our country offering intern-ship opportunities as a way to promote the sport at the expense of quality? Are we simply over 35 million villains to ‘batman’ (joker)? Do the people ‘at the top’ take these things seriously? We love Manchester United even if it has come 7th or Arsenal even if it last won a trophy when Gaddafi was still a pain (now just a scar) and we are being taught to be patriotic, but whoever is in charge is simply taking us for a ride and this ride’s rails end up in Bermuda Triangle! You don’t wake up one day and start urging Ugandans to become as passionate towards local football like the South Africans on this continent when there is simply no convincing structure; you don’t just wake up one morning and decide, ‘I am going to support SC Villa.’ Hint: Some people started supporting Chelsea after a certain oil tycoon bought it! Most people go to Namboole because it is a ‘fiesta.’ Good way of spending time with friends and simply entertainment. The whole feel is just awesome, the match however, the gods of mathematics took a power nap on us!(Pythagoras dictated that we ‘Uganda’ are the hypotenuse and never touching the other end of the triangle) There is so much to write about football…next
Other sports; i remember in my freshman year wanting to continue playing rugby. My passion ended when after training the entire week, the veterans who never showed up for training would be on the first team, not considering most new members were faster and more efficient. This killed morale, most of us ended up focussing on school, after all, 2500/= per training wouldn’t cut it anyway. On the brighter side, it has a way of attracting so many people for both the sport and the entertainment, not forgetting the pork.
When it comes to basketball, there are players that have been in the game since the times we believed that Nambi and Kintu were the first people on earth! Outside the game, you wonder how they survive. If what the media reports about their contracts and the actual contract, actually hold.
As for athletics, we only come to know what is going on when Kiprotich is leading and is 10 minutes away from finish line. We then flock the airport, take selfies with ‘our star,’ make brilliant ads off him, give him in excess of 300m in prize money and when he fails to win again, we slowly forget about him, we scold him for not being serious, how even a ‘first timer’ in marathon beat him in London…but how much support do we give him through the process of reclaiming victory as a country? Is it enough to only come and celebrate when all has been done? Are we still leaving in the African Traditional Society setting? Will he run this good 15 years from now? How do we handle the transition process from him to the next star without citizens running off to other countries that can facilitate and reward talent?
All hope however is no lost. There are some commendable people that have stood firm and invested their money, and tried to attract sponsorship for the love of not only the sport they were once exceptional but all round. Cedric Babu, is one such person. He has developed a brand almost primarily based on sports and talent. Talent covers almost 100% of his initiatives in my opinion, from music to sports. Someone who has moved from Tennis, where i see his core as president of the Uganda Tennis Association to rubgy, basketball and now football. Some ventures work and some fail but what keeps him going is the love for sport. While we all focus on what we feel makes us money from corporate ventures like banking, IT, non government related work, sanitation and all, he has taken the route very few people have dared to take. Not because they don’t understand it but may be because we choose to remain ignorant. Sports is an all round discipline that involves talent, obedience, mental strength, leisure, health, wealth et al. From Friday Night Lights, 5 aside, Tennis and it is no wonder he is involved in the Young Achievers Awards. This is where the focus should be! Managing talent and developing an algorithm on the transition process, as some age out of the game, more should be brought in at all ages.
So how do we reward such people like Cedric? The people in the other sports disciplines that have fought tooth and nail to bring in sponsorships, sports related investors, sports scouts, in Uganda? Do we simply ignore, wait for 24th May and choose between Real and Athletico on who should take Champions league? Do we wait for when Roger Federer will return to number one and when Michael Schumacher wakes? Are we so involved in sports outside our country that we ignore how we can boost tourism in this country through sports and pushing Uganda as a bigger brand? Are we better at raising $1m to support ‘Save a gorilla?’ Shall we continue to live off Idi Amin as the greatest brand from Uganda so far? Do we only make sense when Kony is resounded in the White House? Should we only be known for the negative on how much has been swindled in whatever ministry?
I think it is about time we not only gave this serious thought but acted. The Katikiro of Buganda has been all over the country with the TOFFALI project for the good of Buganda; mirroring that in sports wouldn’t be so bad if the government is being too slow. I dream of the day I will be called to contribute to such a cause as well but I believe my first contribution is this post here (my next might be competing for ‘X’ m in a country wide 100m champion hunt). If your parent didn’t come for ‘VD’ I am sure you found a way to survive, you did what it took and on top of which, you excelled. I believe in being proactive, look out for whoever you feel is doing sports good and support in whatever way possible. Let us support our own, the government will come in along the way and probably the right people will be placed in the right places because as it appears, we have simply ‘filled in the missing blanks.’
Any letter can fit in the boxes of the crossword puzzle but the correct letter is what matters for the entire puzzle to make sense!