- SOCCER. Last month Fufa president Moses Magogo was returned at the helm of Ugandan football unopposed at an elective annual general meeting held in Masindi.
- It has been a rollercoaster first term in charge of Uganda’s number one sport for the 41-year-old, who has registered notable highs in his reign but continues to be criticised. SCORE Editor Innocent Ndawula caught up with him before Uganda hosted Egypt.
Congratulations upon your re-election as Fufa president and also as Caf Executive Committee member. Are you surprised by your rise?
Glory is to Allah the Almighty for the blessings of wisdom, health, energy and luck. I also thank the entire team of people who have supported me to deliver 4-years of football a basis upon which the 33 members of Fufa renewed the mandate to me and my executive committee.
I am not surprised at all. I said in 2001 that I want to be Caf Executive by 2020 and here I am. I have been a football administrator for the last 18 years with 12 of which as Fufa executive.
What do you look at as your achievements over the past four years?
Many people have credited me and my administration for qualifying to Afcon after 39 years but I have said publicly that results are just but a performance indicator of the game and the institution of Fufa.
The reorganisation of Fufa, the introduction of the Fufa Women Elite League, Education of the Football Human Resource, the mobilisation of more resources, the revival of club football, the U-17 League, the improved welfare and logistics planning of the national teams, the acquisition of 102.1 Fufa FM Radio and the attracting the attention of H.E President Yoweri Museveni and entire government apparatus to football amongst others stand out in a forest of achievements and the results on pitch are a recipe of these.
As you are aware, Uganda has qualified to Chan for the fourth straight occasion making us one of the record qualifiers, Uganda Cranes is the Caf Glo National Team of the Year 2016, We are running for the 2018 Fifa World Cup, We are currently the Cecafa champions, Denis Onyango is the African Player of the Year (based in Africa) and Uganda hit its highest Fifa ranking ever of 12th in Africa and 62nd in the World. Under my administration we have won seven away competitive fixtures compared to only one in the 10 years before me. Uganda League Champions KCCA also made a good continental run.
Sports in general and football in particular has stagnated in growth. Where is the problem and what is Fufa under your leadership doing to address the situation?
I think stagnated is too extreme but it is until as a country we understand and invest in sports as an industry as it is done to mining, ICT, tourism and all these emerging sectors that we will realise our potential. We are limited just as Fufa to change the status quo in certain areas. It is paramount for the planners of this country to start investing in sports infrastructure.
When the Fifa president visited, we were promised heaven on earth. We do not see anything tangible. What is going on?
The Fifa president’s visit Uganda remains a historic achievement for our game and country. As we speak, Fufa is among the few federations that have fulfilled the rigorous governance and financial reporting requirements to be eligible to draw from the Fifa Forward Programme. Very interesting football development programmes will be unveiled soon.
You have talked of football development as one of your expected deliveries in the new term. What do you exactly mean?
All these off the field activities are designed to provide football a development agenda. We intend to introduce competitions for Primary Schools, S1/S2 Competition and inter-Provinces, continue to train people like the Young Referees Programme. We further intend to strengthen our regulatory and licensing roles. The Clubs Pro Agenda will now be rolled out to help Clubs professionalise and consequently commercialise. We have a five-year plan we are following.
This sounds a very ambitious programme. Where do you expect the money to come from?
I have said before that no individual or organisation has the ability to finance club football to meaningful competitive levels for philanthropic or PR reasons. Football is a bottomless pit and not sustainable. Football has the potential to generate resources and we have proven this at Fufa. When we professionalise club football, it will automatically trigger commercialisation which is the biggest source of funding to football.
The credibility of Fufa and its officials has suffered a lot of damage under your leadership unlike under your predecessor. Don’t you think your success story is sugar coating a lot of damage?
There are many unfounded reports made about Fufa and its officials that are incorrect. I believe there is a fully oiled propaganda machinery that regularly sits to plan breeding hatred and tribal sentiments. Many lies are positioned to the public and powers that are to ridicule and frame Fufa and its officials. Many unsuspecting and genuine fans have been caught in the mix-up.
For example, Fufa has improved its finance governance systems and internal controls inclusive of financial reporting many folds since I took office. We undergo external audit and share our financial statements with Fifa, government, members and public through the printing in the media. Government issues us with certificates of accountability for every penny received and accounted for but some papers claim that Fufa does not account.
Logically, there is no way such an institution as depicted by some circles continues to generate more revenues from the corporate sponsors and government and enjoys unlimited support of Fifa and Caf, and sporting success continues to come through.
Who are these detractors?
There is a new society challenge of ethics and moral decay that has not spared the journalism profession. It is quite unfortunate that a section of the media and many people who hang around football with no particular contribution are being used by football politicians who intend to discredit the persons in charge for personal reasons. You will see many proxies being fronted but the real fighters behind the scenes will one day get exposed and people will be shocked.
What are the challenges that could fail Fufa to achieve its ambitious plans?
As a country, Uganda is endowed with abundant natural sporting talent. But the scanty World and Continental results produced have been mainly due to talent more than identification, development and presentation. We have to wake up to curve out a professional sports industry. Unfortunately not many people conceptualize the Why/What/How of doing this. Many respected commentators have no idea of what is required and also many people in influential positions of authority to advise Government equally have not made a case that government can buy. As Fufa we shall definitely continue with advocacy. The amateur football mindset that has been here for years is a major obstacle to deal with. If someone has brought value in billions of shillings to the game, what is wrong with him being paid?
After becoming Fufa boss you dumped Mutundwe Lions FC and therefore you have no club?
The fact is that I loved Mutundwe Lions FC to the bones but I could no longer give it full attention. After I became president I left it to other administrators. This is a community club that I just financed for a period I was in charge. I am sure one day it will come back. Currently I own and finance Kampala Queens FC, which plays in the Fufa Women Elite League, 100 per cent. I am also one of the funders of Super Cubs FC in Mutundwe. Oh! Did I mention I am also a member of Proline FC and I pay my annual membership fees!?
Your personal life has been a subject of sustained coverage. Why is it so?
I think this is not my question to answer. Personally I decided to serve football out of passion. I have dedicated by brains and hours to make football better and no one can say they have not felt the positive change. My detractors who cannot put in place an alternative football programme to counter what we have done have opted to hire goons attack my private life. I still live like I was before I became president. I play football with my growing-up mates in Mutundwe. I will still hangout, and I will live my private life as I choose. I am not a religious or cultural head but just a football administrator. I should only be judged by football output.