The issue: Pitch readiness
Our view: Ultimately the quality of the Cup final suffered. Players struggled to read the bounce of the ball and threading passes was a challenge all afternoon.
On Saturday, the 44th Uganda Cup final was staged at Emokori Grounds in Bukedea between KCCA and Vipers.
The well-attended match, which was won by KCCA, was continuing with Fufa’s tradition of taking the game to the far-flung regions of the country.
Last year’s final, also won by KCCA, was played in Arua and previous Cup finals have also been staged in Ntungamo and Gulu districts.
It is a move that is to be appreciated by all those associated with the beautiful game given that football is not a preserve for the capital city and a few districts surrounding Kampala.
The game is cherished nationwide and as such must be taken to the furthest, poorest and most deprived parts of Uganda. However, in spreading the game to all these places, it is imperative that Fufa do not compromise on certain standards.
Take for instance Saturday’s final; the pitch from afar looked decent but once you got a feel of it the bumpy, uneven surface was too pronounced to be ignored.
Ultimately the quality of the Cup final suffered. Players struggled to read the bounce of the ball and threading passes was a challenge all afternoon.
By the time Vipers was chasing the game midway through the second half, the two best clubs in the country were lumping the ball in the general direction of anywhere thus making the match an eye sore.
Yet Emokori Grounds could have been prepared better had Fufa identified the venue way in time and instituted a team to touch the playing surface.
Admittedly the Bukedea venue was a last minute change after the initial choice for the final - Kumi - was deemed to be way behind schedule in readiness.
Aside from the venue, there was laxity in security after the full time whistle.
Once referee Mashood Ssali ended the Cup final affair to proclaim KCCA’s successful title defence, the club’s fans tore their way through advertising hoardings and make-shift fence to rush onto the field of play to join in on the celebrations.
It created a security nightmare given that in no time, the entire field was filled with fans and neutrals alike and the footballers got lost within the pandemonium.
There were reports of stolen phones and wallets among the fans and the situation momentarily threatened to run out of hand.
Thankfully the security team prevailed and the trophy handover happened, albeit in the middle of thousands of fans on the field of play.
To avert similar confusion, Fufa must identify the 2019 venue for the Uganda Cup final and start work early.