Largely a tough year for Ugandan sports

Next week’s column will arrive after Christmas so I might as well take aantage of this weekend and deliver my highlights of year as is my habit every Christmas. And there is quite a lot we could talk about but that would call for much bigger space than your columnist is entitled to. So given the circumstances here are my subjective choices.
The sporting year opened with a fight-to-the-death contest to be top dog at Uganda Athletics Federation (UAF). Hardly had the embers of that fire died and UAF was rocked by a sexual harassment scandal involving a coach and his female fledglings. After accusations and counter accusations nothing suggests the aggrieved were ever served with justice. It is a pity but that is how we do politics in this country.
Then in February, cricketers Raymond Otim and Faruk Ochimi blended with the night in New Zealand. It was neither novel nor shocking. But what a grim reality it must be that the livelihood of sportsmen talented enough to represent the country is so dire that teenagers with their whole careers before them are desperate enough to trade it all in exchange for a life spent cleaning after elderly people 8000 miles away from home.
Then in April the futile road to Afcon began and ended in November rather predictably. However after yet another near-miss campaign Fufa appears to have realised that qualification will not come by default but by design. They are now making the right noises about Project Cameroon 2019. It’s however one thing to plan and completely another to act.
June brought us Brazil 2014 at which Germany blitzed through everyone including the hosts who got the ultimate humiliation. For Africa, the dream continues to be elusive and the incessant fights over allowances suggests it will be a while before that dream is achieved
September saw the She Cranes qualify for the Netball World Cup in the most dramatic of fashions. Now armed with a begging bowl these brave women hope to avoid the indignity they faced in Botswana where at one time they were saved from spending the night on the open veld by the magnanimity of their hosts.
One can only pray that they will have raised the $100,000 (Shs260m) they need for Sydney by August 2015.
It seems a year in sports would not be complete without the customary bickering in Fufa. And in October, just as a purposeful lull seemed to have taken hold, retired footballer Dan Walusimbi and his team of former football administrators announced they were the ‘real Fufa’. It was really an old unresolved conflict that stretches back to the days of Dennis Obua. The battle cries have died down since but sooner or later some bored chap will figure out how to revive them.
And so a year in which we seemed to be moving around in a small tea cup went by like that. Well a new one is now upon us with all its opportunities. I hope we can exploit those without the unnecessary cynicism that follows us everywhere we go.
So from me to you make merry and once again this is where I encourage you to pull out that dusty Christmas album by Philly Bongole Lutaaya.
banturakim@gmail.com

SOURCE: Daily Monitor

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