Why rugby officials should engage dissenting voices

Fufa vs. USLL. Problem with Ugandan football’s latest round of papering over cracks is that the unifying strand – SuperSport’s millions of dollars – is what triggered the standoff in the first place.

The merits and demerits of downsizing the topflight rugby league — the Nile Premiership — have been discussed extensively. Truth be told, both schools of thought have compelling arguments. Ugandan club rugby needs a competitive second tier that will ensure that competent sides join the topflight.

This will doubtless help to weed out the blowout scores that the likes of Lira Bulls and Jinja-based Nile have been enduring.But, on the flip side, won’t reducing the number of topflight sides to six – and thus ensuring that we have just the 10 topflight league matches a season – shortchange the sponsor of the Premiership as much as the players? Any downsizing is bound to have ramifications.

The players on the one hand won’t have enough games under their belt to improve their skill set. Nile Breweries, the league sponsor, on the other hand will get four match days less than they bargained for.

That is hardly small beer – pun intended – and can knock a few zeros from a contract.

Owing to the aforesaid, wide consultations needed to have been done before a decision on something of such a big magnitude was taken. The Uganda Rugby Union will point to the Chairman’s Round Table (CRT) meeting, but it’s emerging that nothing conclusive came out of that dialogue. Your columnist understands that the Union has failed to produce minutes from the December CRT to prove that clubs unanimously agreed to downsize the Nile Premiership from eight to six.

For now, the battle to keep the number of topflight clubs at eight has the markings of a bloody ugly one. It appears to be headed to the courts of law for good measure.

The Union should be working at ensuring that a rugby decision doesn’t go under the judge’s hammer. Sadly, it isn’t. This has to change. Ugandan rugby can ill afford having its reputation dragged through the mud.

Marriage of convenience won’t iron out fault lines

Fufa and Uganda Super League Limited’s (USLL) marriage of convenience has precipitated a collective sigh as much as a frown.

Talk of a cart being placed ahead of the horse will continue to do the rounds as we build up to that August kickoff for a league set to see Fufa and USLL compare notes.

Now, it must be stated that the beautiful game has ameliorated many long-standing feuds before. Hatchets may not necessary be buried, but, as was the case with Andy Cole and Teddy Sheringham, who enjoyed a productive strike partnership at Manchester United without – remarkably – talking to each other, dividends are pretty much yielded.

Is it an exception?We could, however, be looking at an exception.Problem with Ugandan football’s latest round of papering over cracks is that the unifying strand – SuperSport’s millions of dollars – is what triggered the standoff in the first place.

What chance then that lightning won’t, well, strike twice! But before we even get to that juncture of lightning striking twice, it’s prudent that one comprehends the composite of the Fufa-USLL truce. It’s as multi-layered as they come! The layer that sheds light on Fufa’s incorporation – a company limited by guarantee – is apparent as indeed is the ban USLL old warhorse, Julius Kavuma-Kabenge, was slapped with. These two contested illegalities make such a curious amalgam.Adding to the subtle blend is the layer of power sharing.

ower by its very nature is terribly difficult to compartmentalise, let alone share. A power sharing endeavour makes for a Herculean task more so in a banana republic such as Uganda.

It doesn’t help matters that Ugandan football has over the year predisposed itself to what one can loosely describe as a ‘big man syndrome’.

Micro-management has been the order of the day with the big man running the show. One school of thought actually proffers that the process that led to the Fufa-USLL truce was largely the process of micro-management.

Hushed whinesThere have been the odd hushed whines about a selected band of people thrashing out plans for a one-size-fits-all topflight league.Of course, some of the whines might be a tad too embellished, but they nonetheless bring to the fore a persistent problem – micro-management.Interestingly, the abstract concept of the Jinja Declaration, which ultimately gave birth to the USLL, saw the light of day because decentralisation was deemed as the antidote for Ugandan football’s problems.

We all know how the endeavour ended. We are now back to square one, wondering whether the ‘once bitten, twice shy’ dictum will hold sway.


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