We shall start this article by alluding to an irregularity that the State, headed by President Yoweri Kaguta Tibuhaburwa Museveni and his wife, State Minister of Education and Sports are quoting the Bible wide of the mark; “To whom much is given, much will be required” (Luke 12:48), has been borrowed wrongly.
If you have heard that line of wisdom, you know it means you are held responsible for what you have. If you have been blessed with talents, wealth, knowledge, time, and the like, it is expected that you also benefit others. Government would instead be held responsible for not aiding well or benefiting the Sports sub-sector for that matter… not the other way round. First, God has granted the NRM as led by Museveni close to 40 years in power. That is therefore too much leadership time but has not benefited the Sports sub-sector.
For all those years, the local athletes, the federations and associations have worked on meagre budgets that there was even a time athletes worked and trained on empty stomachs. Today, government, yes, has realized the magic of sports in shaping the individuals and nation. Just the other day, they allocated the sports sub-sector, a record UGX29Bn increase in its budget on top of the UGX18Bn it got in the last financial year.
However, the State to demand for accountability already, in terms of sports performances, medals from athletes now, is demanding for too much. Yet the sports sub-sector has not even touched on the said monies in the ensuing budget.
According to the 2022/23 financial year budget unveiled by the government last June, the National Council of Sports was allocated a fair share of UGX47.81Bn to fund its activities that include supporting national teams for international events like Olympics, Paralympics commonwealth games, continental championships and the East Africa community games.
Flagging off the teams in Kampala at the Kololo independence ceremonial grounds, for the World Athletics Championships 2022 (15th – 25th July) in the Oregon, USA, and, the Commonwealth Games XXII (28th July – 8th August 2022) in Birmingham, UK, President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni clearly told athletes to go win a lot of medals, a message that could not have gone down well with some of the sportsmen and women.
Order or request?
The president gave a flag to the teams’ captains telling them and their delegations to work diligently to represent their country with honor. “Sports is one avenue of representing your country to the rest of the world. Do it with honor and to the sportsmen, aim for high performances as you avoid issues as alcohol and sexual immorality. Once you have the talent, do not fear. Remain focused in training” President Museveni urged.
The president, whose Cabinet has, until recently been working in oblivion of the sports magic advantage over other sub-sectors, emphasized the value of sports ranging from fitness, character building, entertainment, teamwork and publicity of the country. He also sounded some warning to the sportsmen and women against ill traits like that of alcohol drinking and abuse, and sexually immorality.
Going as overall team captain to the Birmingham Common Wealth Games, Michael Wokorach, a rugby player sounded patriotic and grateful to the Government of Uganda, the teams and the team officials for the support as he vowed to lead gallantly. “I am honored to be appointed captain of team Uganda once again after the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia. I will use my experience to lead the team. I thank the Government for the support, UOC and National Council of Sports as well as the mother sports associations. We have prepared well and ready to die a little for the country” Wokorach, also captain of the national rugby 7’s team stated.
Seven teams for Uganda:
Uganda will be represented by Seven (7) national teams that qualified to the world stage in the first stage of the year, attributing the achievement to good planning. What looked largely as a dream seven months ago, Uganda has this time around qualified Athletes to different sports disciplines.
More support rallied:
Uganda Olympic Committee (UOC) President Donald Rukare emphasized the value of sports to the nation and called for more sports infrastructure to be set up. Every speaker outlined the enormous value of such international sports competitions to the tourism sector and image of the entire country rallying the nation for more support in terms of funding.
In the last Commonwealth Games Uganda finished with 6 medals. They will be looking to better those performances in Birmingham. At the Commonwealth Games, Uganda will be represented in 11 sports disciplines of Squash, netball, rugby, swimming, para-swimming, Table Tennis, Badminton, Wrestling, Cycling, Boxing and Athletics.
- 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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