Youth football is key in shaping the future of the beautiful game hence it must be taken well care of; with careful grooming by experts who know and understand the nitty-gritty of the sport.
Here in Uganda, UYFA (Uganda Youth Football Association) are mandated by FUFA (Federation of Uganda Football Associations) to oversee the development and growth of youth football.
Recently, FUFA came up with academy regulations governing all the football academies in the country. Academy stakeholders received the development positively but still more is desired.
According to FUFA Competitions Director, Aisha Nalule, albeit the academies accepting FUFA academy regulations which compromise of; governance, sporting, personnel and administration, finance plus infrastructure and equipment, competitions is another aspect they should work on.
“We cannot have good players when we don’t have competitions,” Nalule said.
“As FUFA Competitions Department, unless they (academies) give us good players, that is when we can have good competitions and hence supporters back to the filed,” Nalule added.
So far, nine new soccer academies are approved to join UYFA that is; Bright Valley Soccer Academy from Northern Region, Tanka Soccer Academy Matugga, Elite Soccer Academy Kampala, Nkumba Elite Soccer Academy, Buddo Soccer Academy, Model Star Soccer Academy Rubaga, Motherwel Soccer Academy and Msingi Soccer Academy.
There are a bunch of more soccer academies in the country, most of which are in the process of getting registered.
Youth (Academy) tournaments are always organized in different formats as a way of budding future stars. However, Nalule says that organisers of youth competitions should do so in accordance with international standards to prepare youngsters for a competitive future.
The FUFA Odilo Primary Schools Championship is the main and most recognized youth football competition. It was inaugurated last year and won by Rays of Grace Junior School and Academy.