The 7th Sports Forum was held on Wednesday, chaired by State Minister for Sports Hon Hamson Obua.
The forum tackled on a number of issues including a brief on the resolutions from the sixth forum that was held on March 30, 2021.
The meeting among Sports Federations heads and other stakeholders, is stipulated in Article 17 of the National Council of Sports Statutory Instrument No.38.
The Sports heads discussed many ideas but top on the agenda was the need for good facilities.
Given the mandate to open the floor, Federation of Uganda Basketball Association President Nasser Sserunjogi said that good facilities can solve the big headache of government funding.
Sserunjogi who is already with the Silverbacks in Cairo, Egypt, ahead of the Afrobasket Qualifiers, said: “We have all complained about the need for the Government to takeover direct funding for the National teams, but one of the biggest solution can be through putting in place a good facility.
“I can give you an example; if we have a good indoor Arena, you are assured that it can house many sports disciplines like Basketball, Volleyball, Netball, Boxing and Badminton among others. If a facility can accommodate about 10,000 fans, and you charge them like 20,000, that means that the federation has earned sh200m there and then fron gate collection hence loosening on the burden we put on Government.
“These good facilities can enable us host International tournaments which bring benefits like TV production rights and Tourism etc. Most of you know what happened with Rwanda recently when they hosted Basketball Africa League (BAL) which was broadcast on ESPN world over.”
New Uganda Netball Federation President Sarah Babirye Kityo re-echoed Sserunjogi’s submission and added that its a shame that a sport of Netball, whose National team is ranked number 7 in the world does not have a place to call home.
Babirye added that Government should also look into paying National team coaches direct. She also suggested that it is very important for the Government to provide physios at a national level because Sports and Injuries move together. She stressed that many athletes injuries have turned into disabilities.
In his submission, Julius Lukwago of Association of Uganda University Sports said that Government should form partnerships with Universities to develop tge available facilities at campuses. “Many sports disciplines like Volleyball and basketball usually play their leagues at Universities. Look at UCU, Makerere and Ndejje, they have good facilities which need renovation. Some governments like in Ethiopia are already doing this.
Max Kanyerezi of Uganda Swimming Federation shared advised the Federations to solve their issues internally and not to put the wrangles out their for everyone to see because they are scaring away corporate companies which would have come on board.
Dan Isabirye (Uganda Draught Federation) complained that there has not been any tangible change in sports funding from Government despite an earlier promise by Minister Obua’s reign.
He said that the level of prioritisation that see FUFA take Sh10bn is unfair. He asked: “Could there be an invisible hand at NCS that awards FUFA that money? Could such decisions be made outside the board?”
Stanley Tamale of Uganda Hockey Federation challenged NCS to put deliberate efforts to help Federations acquire funds from sponsors while Gymnastics’ Harriet Ayaa also wants NCS to help Federations enlight the sponsors about the benefits of partnering with the Sports sectors.
Emmanuel Mwaka of Chess Federation pleaded to Government to help one player (and his coach) get two airtickets to take part at the Chess World Cup in Russia. He also requested Government to help Federations pay for their international subscriptions and other fixed costs.
Mwaka also raised a big issue when he asked Obua to lower the overall age of NCS board and appoint youthful members at NCS which truly represent the youthful population of Uganda.
Dipu Ruparelia (President of the Federation of Motorsports Clubs of Uganda) based his submission on a recent Kenya Safari Rally which was viewed by an estimated number of 848m viewers making it the most watched Sports event of the year. He submitted: “We also have the African rally here in Uganda every year, If well sports federations make an impact on the countries economy, why doesnt government use us a vessel to promote Uganda. Let NCS not just look at these Olympics Sports, we also have a huge following and its time we make a big case to Government in regards to more funding.”
Robert Jjagwe of Table Tennis suggested that the Sports Federation body meets with the Marketing department of NCS to see how the Sports sector can be helped.
Jjagwe also raised alarm that some Government officials are not aware of the “peanuts” these federations remain with after FUFA takes their Sh10bn, and asked Hon Obua for more explanation.
Edgar Mujuni of Kabaddi said that Government needs to support athletes, coaches and administrators through these tough times of Covid.
Ian Mayanja (Uganda Handball Federation) said that they need minimum funds to cover expenses, which was also repeated by Veteran Sam Mahaba of Uganda Cycling who threw sent the members into laughter when he threw in some French goodbye phrases at the end of his submission.
Peter Odong requested that Government should use athletes because they have a good following to pass out national messages and awareness.
Irene Blick of FMU said that they have a continental event (FIM Africa Nations championship) in August and they need government support for that matter.
Dickson of VX said that the “problem is not the resource envelope being small but its not being held transparently.”
The officials also suggested that Federations should have representatives on NCS board.
In his long response, which he termed as ‘clarification but not defence’, NCS General Secretary Dr Patrick Bernard Ogwel said that all the issues can be solved but that must have to depend on the available resource envelope.
Minister Obua said that he cannot assure the sports sector of any possible relief fund because Government has already finalised a list of beneficiaries which he went ahead to read to the members, an issue which was ealier raised by Dickson Nuwagaba
NCS chairman who doubles as the Uganda Olympic Commitee President Donald Rukare provided an update on Uganda’s preparations for the coming Tokyo games where he revealed that the two members of Team Uganda who had earlier test positive for Covid19 in Japan, have recovered and will soon join the rest of the members.