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Inadequacy of Sports facilities hampers talent development

The new minister of State Hamson Obua last week visited the two government stadia, Nambole Mandera Stadium and Nakivubo War Memorial Stadium but he was overwhelmed by the fact that those administering Nambole Stadium had no land title for the land on which it seats.

By Bukenya George

The development of sports talents in Uganda is at jeopardy because of the scarcity of sports facilities such as arena, Gym, Stadium Swimming pool to mention but a few.

 This is evidenced to be a big challenge especially in many districts and urban centers in the country at large, which challenge has been worsened by Land grabbing on which few the existing sports facilities seat

 In Kampala and Wakiso Districts the Youth have to compete for the few existing play grounds and have prompted the owners to begin charging fees even those that are owned by schools yet these used to be free of charge in the past.

 This means that many talents will remain Untapped and therefore Undeveloped due to the inadequacy or no infrastructures in many areas of the country.

 The status in which we shall be as a country in terms of sports development can best be explained by the Chinese’s proverb which goes as follows, “if you want one year of prosperity, grow grain. If you want ten years of prosperity, grow trees. If you want one hundred years of prosperity grow people’’.

 Likewise, if Uganda wants one hundred years of prosperity in the sports sector it should invest in the development of new sports infrastructures and preserve the existing ones so that in turn talents can be developed. We cannot claim to be developing talents without infrastructures.

This is evidenced by the fact that Kenyans where performing well when it comes to athletics on the international scene simply because they had high altitude facilities they were using but when Uganda also discovered the secrete, and developed one in Sebei region our runners have now won a couple of events in the recent past and now , this has not only made the country proud but also marketed it.

The sports sub-sector is one of the sectors that receive least funding as far as the national budget is concerned. This explains why the rate at which sports infrastructures is growing is very minimal in the country.

Some sports disciplines such as swimming have remained to be a sport of the so called `first world` schools and for the corporates largely due to luck of facilities and a few that are in place the owners charge a lot of fees from those using them.

The central government decentralized the development and administration of sports infrastructures to the district and municipalities. This has greatly hampered the growth of the sports sub-sector because the districts allocate a very small portion of their budgets to sports.

Some districts such as Masaka used to have Foot teams but can no longer have them because they cannot sustain them due to the budget constraints.

The chairman LC V Masaka district Jude Mbabali says that they cannot maintain the district play grounds because the funds they used to collect from taxes and dues reduced due to the central government ceasing of fishing ports from which his local government used to collect huge revenue.

Mbabali further said that this also led to the collapse of Masaka Local Council Football Club because as a district could no longer sustain it.

Mugabi Martin a former footballer and now trained coach of Football who grew up in Naguru say that during his youthful age at Lugogo and in particular where Shop rite premises was constructed there used to be a number of play grounds and each one of them was always busy with sports activities but now it’s a nightmare.

Mugabi says that many football clubs ranging from first division to Super division used to train from their but today clubs especially those in elite league face a challenge of getting where to train from. Even those that have been remaining like Nakivubo War Memorial Stadium in the heart of Kampala Villa Park in Nsambya are getting extinct.

He adds that even the very few that are still existing are being over used due to the rapid increase in the population in the country therefore as they have become very poor for hosting sports activities especially football games.

The other play grounds where owned by Schools but many of them have been given away to the investors for other development purposes for instance a big charka of land for East Kololo Primary school which had 4 play grounds was sold to an investor.

The challenge of giving away such sports facilities does not only occur in Kampala but also in other urban areas of the country for instance Mugabi says that even in his native district of Masindi they used to have many play grounds but they are coming to an extinct.

He adds that even the very few that are still existing are being over used due to the rapid increase in the population in the country therefore as they have become very poor for hosting sports activities especially football games.

The newly nominated chairman National Council of sports [NCS] Dr. Donald Rukare say that the current Law gives powers to the districts to control the use of these sports facilities and this gives them an upper hand even to decide what to do with such land. This is why some district councils have decided to sell such facilities to private investors.

‘’NCS controls only Nakivubo and Nambole, we therefore need to revise the law so as to give powers to NCS to control these sports facilities so as to preserve those that are still existing. “ Dr. Rukare said.

 The director of communications at KCCA Peter Kauju says that they are, as KCCA fighting hard to see that they stop what he called grabbing of school land by the investors. Something he says will help to protect and conserve land for sports facilities.

 ‘’We are working in conjunction with the Ministry of education and sports to see that we secure land that belongs to KCCA schools and so far we have secured land titles for seven schools for instance Old Kampala , Kitante and Buganda road primary schools respectively among others’’. Kauju said.

He also gave hope that KCCA is planning to develop a fully-fledged sports facility on its land in Kitebi and in addition there is plan to develop in each division of Kampala at least one community playground.

The new minister of State Hamson Obua last week visited the two government stadia, Nambole Mandera Stadium and Nakivubo War Memorial Stadium but he was overwhelmed by the fact that those administering Nambole Stadium had no land title for the land on which it seats.

Hon.Hamson Obua New Minister for sports showcasing his boxing skills and underscores a need to promote sports in Job Creation.File Photo.

Even the remaining land that had remained un developed with a purpose of future expansion has been occupied by illegal encroachers.

Nakivubo Stadium is being redeveloped by City businessman called Hamis Kiggundu but it’s alleged according to it’s design that it will not be able to host international games because of lack of space for evacuation of people in case of dangers.

However, the minister restores hope when he vowed to work very hard and see that government secures all land titles were government sports facilities are seating.

“We want to see that we secure all land titles where government facilities are seating and also construct a sport facility at least in every district because this will help us to encourage the taping and development of talents. “ Hon. Obua said.

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