A few days ago, I was approached by three delegates to fund their football projects. As if coordinated, they all promised to ‘praise me’ for whatever contribution I gave. When I asked for their feasibility and action plans, each diverted me into how they simply needed to put up something to show how they are working. It is clear that there are many other delegates out there who underestimate their role in football. A delegate is not supposed to beg for funding. Football is not a charity and let no one fool you that the Fufa Executive is a team of volunteers. There is money in the sport but tapping it and putting it to good use is the problem we have. Yet Fufa delegates have the capacity to determine how football should be run. A delegate is like a member of parliament and these are the people who plan for the game.
Fufa, of course, knows all this but uses the inverted pyramid method to suffocate delegates. In other words, whereas Fufa Executive is the top organ, it instead places all burdens on those bodies below it.
For instance, Fufa pays delegates (88) a monthly allowance of Shs80,000 which is a paltry figure to monitor football activities in their respective constituencies. And given that delegates sit only once a year, they also spend that one day listening to what Fufa Executive wants them to hear without any chance of querying and scrutinising.
In spite of this anomaly, Fufa has the capacity of transforming the role of a delegate. Surely, with a Shs3.4bn budget on football development, the federation can partake to buy hire-purchase motorbikes for these delegates, especially those from hard-to-reach areas. Delegates should earn at least Shs500,000. One may ask; where would that money come from? Only those who don’t know the funding Fufa gets will ask such a question.
For instance, Fufa budgets Sh 2.3bn annually for marketing the game but this is being wasted because football markets itself through good organisation. We also have a Shs6bn budget for infrastructure development when there is no single regional stadium Fufa is building or helping to build. So, this is the time for delegates to wake up and smell the coffee that they are not mere ladders for a few to use on their way to the top. Delegates must be proactive and in charge of key football affairs. They shouldn’t just react when they are in need.
It is the Fufa delegates’ assembly that is supposed to design football roadmaps right from the regional level in a bottom-up format but instead, they are hoodwinked by the sumptuous dinner and small brown envelopes on the eve of assemblies. In turn, they are simply made to listen till the time comes to vote; say yes or scramble to say the infamous word ‘seconded.’ This perhaps explains why football development in this country is judged from office expansion at Mengo and the Cranes advancement with nothing tangible reflected at grassroots level.
Are we getting our money’s worth from Insurance?
Last week, the media was awash with photos of beaming Fufa and National Insurance Corporation (NIC) officials after both parties signed an ‘improved’ deal reportedly worth Shs9.7bn.
On the face of it, this looks like a deal made in heaven but the devil is in the detail. Apparently, the insurance only covers players while on official engagements and does not include the Uganda Premier League. You need to understand that most of the Cranes players are insured by their respective clubs and may not actually need this NIC package. Instead, Fufa cunningly sidestepped UPL players yet they form the bulk of football activity in the country. Sincerely, how could Fufa negotiate a deal that involves players in Fufa Junior League and Drum tournaments and leave out the UPL? Besides, it would also be prudent if Fufa shows the public how many players have benefitted since this insurance sponsorship started. That would give a true reflection on whether it is worth the hype or not.
Otherwise, when I see injured national team players such as Joseph Nsubuga and Samson Kirya pleading to well wishers for help, it really bothers me. Why can’t this insurance package help them yet they have regularly played for The Cranes on its Cranes Na Mutima tours?
In other words, the real players this insurance package is supposed to benefit are deliberately left out. Instead, we are told these exciting figures with no tangible results to show for. Some people have intimated to me that the real motivation behind the NIC deal is the commission individuals get, which I guess is pegged on both cash and non-cash figures indicated. So, Fufa should tell us how football has benefited from the old deal for us to clap for the romantic figures in the new deal. That’s what accountability entails.
The author is Nyamityobora FC president