There are at least four areas inside the Lugogo Sports Complex area where you cannot just run into without National Council of Sports (NCS) watching you do this and that without restraint.
Talk of or joke around these areas and you will understand that the NCS officials are sure watching over your movements all the while from this gate to the other gate. The Cricket Oval, the MTN Arena, the Hockey pitch and the Tennis Complex are the areas in question here. Before we report what, their mandate is, lets first reveal why these protective tendencies of certain areas at Lugogo.
The Cricket Oval place is big time income source for NCS officials. So much so, they would rather stop a cricket game in its middle for a musical show! And, they are doing this at the expense of the Cricket body that is fighting so hard to maintain the ground playable by the cricketers.
Remember the Oval must have a wickets area that is very expensive to maintain. But during musical shows, what NCS requires the organizers of, is to protect this area by just fencing it. Yes, they can fence it but the nature of music show fans, very rowdy and drunk, one can’t tell them otherwise. They will run over it with hard and sharp shoes so to spoil it.
For starters, the Wickets area is 22 yard (20.12m) long (1 chain) and 10 ft. (3.05 m) wide. The surface is flat and is normally covered with extremely short grass, but can be completely dry or dusty soil with barely any grass or, in some circumstances, made from an artificial material.
Talking of the MTN Arena, the NCS jealousy motive here is not very different from the Cricket Oval. Pure source of money into their pockets. Period. The same is for Tennis complex and the Hockey grounds. Remember when a minister, whom you all know, then a line minister for sports organizing a wedding reception for his son on the Hockey artificial turf, something that was very much unthinkable of?
Many of the family’s lady guests turned up in sharp heels and walked without restraint on the turf with their sadly great deal of spoiling the matt which also was a donation from the development partners.
For NCS who must have received money from the family of the Minister, or used his office abusively, looked on as the facility got spoilt. About two years now, NCS has specifically frustrated the Tennis Sports programs on the facility that they took over a decade ago or so.
While NCS downplays the fact that they have sinister motives there, the truth is they are minting monies from the complex. Bernard Ogwel of the NCS was once quoted thus; “That place is a public facility, it’s open for everybody to come and play. We don’t charge anyone to use it although we give priority to [the] national team.”
But there have always been questions arising. Why is the facility run like a private property with no clear guidelines on the use of the facility by individuals interested in playing the game? Why are people charged to use the facility? Why are groups of people required to pay a “subscription” to NCS to use the facility?
So many questions but NCS should give the answers there. In fact, there have been rumors that there is an intention to lease the facility especially after the council turned down an offer for redevelopment by the Tennis Association years ago.
The Uganda Tennis Association (UTA) had secured the willingness of the International Tennis Federation (ITF) to redevelop the tennis courts under the Facility Grant Programme to a tune of $50,000. The National Council of Sports however turned down the grant to improve the courts at Lugogo Sports Complex into a National Training Centre.
Chairman UTA Cedric Ndilima Babu, in 2018 wrote to NCS seeking their approval for the project to take off, but they did not reply meaning they disregarded his appeal. And in defense of the council’s position, Ogwel says they secured a private investor to redevelop the entire Lugogo Sports Complex through a Public-Private Partnership (PPP).
“It can’t happen. That’s a government property. We cannot lease that place to a third party”, Bernerd Ogwel was then NCS General Secretary. Even there was no reply when UTA wrote to NCS through Sports Minister Hamson Obua in 2019.
NCS, the statutory organ whose establishment, status and powers are enshrined under The NCS Act of 1964, to among other things; Develop, Promote and Control sports activities in Uganda on behalf of Government, under the Ministry of Education and Sports, is doing the absurd; under-developing and killing the sports instead.
The NCS which is linked to the Supreme Council for Sports in Africa (SCSA) and other relevant sports organizations must serve as an apex organization coordinating all sports activities in the country, in conjunction with National Sports Associations/Federations.
Having such mandate among others include; Develop and promote all forms of sport on national basis, in conjunction with voluntary amateur sports bodies, and also providing training and the required staff, Encourage and facilitate cooperation among the various national sports associations, and Organize, in conjunction with the nation associations, national and International competitions and festivals as a means of gaining experience and fostering friendly relations with other nations, and other activities as may be approved by the minister.
Where they must Stimulate interest in sports at all levels, their general planned policies are to frustrate national associations. Where they must work in consultations with national associations they are working independently and awkwardly in opposition of national associations. And, it’s the Ministry (MOS) regarding external relations in the field of sports is also busy in bed with the killers of the sport.
So, you can see that the body visioned to provide an enabling environment for the investment in and promotion of sports in Uganda has themselves visioned for selfish interests whose overall mission is “Maximizing opportunities for NCS not Sports excellence.
Yet, the body is supposed to play an integral part of doing the right thing according to the Council’s expectations without compromise, supposed to be reliable, dependable and respectful of each other and committed to dedication to one’s duties and ability to take on challenges by putting heart and head to Council’s goals, their work is but to frustrate, kill sport and serve own interests.
I rest the case here.
- Mr. Daniels N. Tatya is an affluent Sports Writer, Commentator and Editor. His over 15 years of covering almost major sporting events makes him a revered and an authority on investigative Sports journalism in Uganda. He can also be reached via [email protected] +256(0)758268315
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