- No way out. Fufa boss Magogo knows that his only shot at getting money from the government is to make a direct plea to President Museveni
Federation of Uganda Football Associations (Fufa) has appealed directly to State House for the $500,000 (an estimated Shs1.8b) it needs for its remaining two World Cup 2018 qualifiers. (ed. This article was written before the government availed Shs1b to Fufa for Cranes last two matches in the 2018 Russia World Cup campaign)
The Ministry of Education and Sports through its Permanent Secretary, is unimpressed as it feels that at times of need, we must maintain some dignity that is otherwise entirely absent from our football, we must consult, reflect on how institutions work, preferably without debating what to do next. But guess what? What we will do next is beg for funding for the next football game. The ministry is broke and its accounting officer knows that alternatives must be sought.
It is therefore a strange exclusion zone the ministry is attempting to build around the President.
I need to put it on record though, that I believe that going straight to State House for funding, is to support the same institutional collapse that is partly responsible for the underdevelopment of our sports. But I am also realistic enough to acknowledge that it’s the best shot that any association has.
Is it not true that most of the Africa Cup of Nations 2017 budget was funded by State House? Why wasn’t that subjected to the same kind of hush-kitting of Fufa, that is being suggested now? And to be clear, while the Cranes needs approximately Shs2b for its next two qualifiers, the National Council of Sports (NCS) was allocated Shs12.2b from the 2017/18 National Budget. This, it must pass around 54 associations. All of football, let alone these two Cranes games, would be lucky to receive 2bn.
And it is under such circumstances that Fufa must retract its begging tin and suspend its sense of action, its deep concern for NCS inability to fund sports, and frankly its incredulity, when it hears the permanent secretary, who clearly knows there are few alternatives.
“I would like to remind you that the constant addressing of financial requests to His Excellency the President without going through the line ministry responsible for sports is discourteous to the fountain of honour and tantamount to abuse of the benevolence and welcome of His Excellency to the public” said the Permanent Secretary in a letter to Fufa.
“By doing so”, he continued, “you are also undermining the government ministry responsible for sports”.
And may be that is the catch. It appears the ministry is more concerned about its image than Fufa’s ability to proceed with the qualifiers.
But they ought to know this isn’t limited to football or the Cranes. Athletics, netball, cricket, and everything in between, have all been on begging crusades to State House in the recent past. It happens to be a national sickness and the line ministry should be more concerned that they haven’t yet prescribed a national cure for it.
All said and done, Fufa has a game today and another in a couple of weeks. It needs Shs1.8b that the ministry clearly doesn’t have.
So unfortunate as it is, this is hardly the time for lectures on protocol from Mr Alex Kakooza. Right now, at this time of desperate want, action surpasses decorum.