On Tuesday, 2nd January 2018, the Uganda Cranes and Netball She Cranes were hosted to a luncheon by the President of Uganda, H.E Gen. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni at his country home in Rwakitura, Kiruhura district.
The FUFA President, Eng. Moses Magogo led the FUFA delegation alongside the Uganda Cranes team that was also flagged off to Morocco for the TOTAL Africa Nations Championship tournament.
Eng. Magogo narrates the significance of the luncheon among others;
Five years ago as we tried to convince government to fund the national team, the then-Permanent Secretary Education wondered how we can look for money to transport people by air to go and play when UNEB was lacking funds.
The destiny of football could not go beyond the whims of the Permanent Secretary neither did it merit any seconds of thought.
Fast forward, today, I am here excited that FUFA’s advocacy agenda has delivered football and generally sports to the highest table of decision making in this country.
We have talked, written, demonstrated, lobbied, appealed, explained, and achieved sporting results to communicate the value of sport to Our Nation.
We are eventually getting there.
I will take the moment to thank HE the President of the Republic of Uganda and the 1st Lady and Minister of Education and Sports (MoES) for hosting both Football and Netball to their Country Home in Rwakitura on 2nd January 2018.
I was personally full of emotions that despite the busy schedule and several important programmes, the head of state and the first lady spent a full day with sportsmen freely talking to everyone, joking, playing, drinking, eating, laughing but most importantly talking sport.
The Grandchildren of the first family demanded to take pictures with the Uganda Cranes and narrated how they follow all Uganda Cranes matches.
The State house staff did not hide their excitement of mingling with the Uganda Cranes.
This is just a good sample to show how far we have carried the brand.
The Head of State believes that with tapping talent early and with proper feeding, our players will be able to shoot Enyanda.
He would relay minute by minute of the Uganda vs. Ghana AFCON Match where Isaac Isinde gave away a simple penalty and Farouk Miya hit a feeble ball instead of Enyanda like Bunyenyezi used to do.
We also discussed the economics of Sports and the moment of humour was when the 2 neighbours disagreed.
H.E the President thought when the players go out of the country for professional football it is good for them and the country while Maama Janet thought it weakens the league and has a domino effect on the national team as well.
The President and 1st Lady were being engaged in a deeply technical sports discussion and considering that both arguments carried weight, I proposed to postpone the debate of the neighbours to a later date.
The Minister of Education and Sports preached that the talent of sportsmen is a gift from God. She called upon all sportsmen and women to owe allegiance to the one true God.
She gave both football and netball 2 movies to watch thus “Facing the Giants” and “The Chariots of Fire”.
The Output of the Story is that we have delivered football and generally sport from the pitches to the final decision making office.
It continues to reverberate in my ears when Mrs. Janet Museveni in her own remarks said football is no longer recreational but an economic activity that promotes our country.
This attention of the first family has automatically and exponentially elevated the priority level of football and the Sports from a fitness activity to one that must be attended to urgently.
In marketing it is called *”Positioning”* and this is not accidental instead it has taken us strategies and time.
With this support, we have within 24hours engaged with the technocrats from the Ministry of Education and Sports, National Council of Sports and the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development and as we speak, a supplementary funding to a tune of 13b UGX is being processed to support Football, Netball, Boxing, Athletics, Basketball, Rugby and Other Sports in the next 6months to the end of the 2017/8 Budget.
The Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development has also formally allowed the Ministry of Education and Sports to include the Activities for the 2018/9 Financial Year starting July 2018.
In principle, what the country has been crying for has been answered.
Government will hereafter provide funding in the National Budget for National Teams and the days of over staying the welcome of H.E the President by soliciting for funding from State House are gone.
I must mention specifically that the Minister of State for Sports Hon Charles Bakabulindi has been very instrumental in this achievement. I believe it is a bigger score than qualification to AFCON after 40 years.
Thank you H.E the President, the first Lady and all the government officials who have made this happen
To the athletes, It is time to shine
*It is Our Game, It is Our Country*