The Minister of State for Sports Peter Ogwang called out Sports Federation Officials to embrace professionalism in the management of their offices, which according to him are operated as family affairs.
Ogwang expressed his dismay as he delivered a speech at the 11th National Sports Forum on Friday, 30th September 2022 that saw Executives of National Sports Associations/Federations converge at the National Council of Sports.
The Minister believes federation Heads need to align and work in sync with the National Council of Sports to wipe out corruption, a vice he worries has caused a huge setback to the sports sub-sector.
“I have observed for the one month I have been in office, you have a lot of challenges beginning with yourselves. Can we try to professionalize how we manage our federations? The era of gambling is finished, You either professionalize or get out!” The minister asserted.
“Leaders of sports federations should operate within the parameters of the law and provisions of their constitutions especially on Governance issues, and avoid the blame game of their failures to government.” He amplified.
He also cautioned federation leaders who employ their relatives in administration roles saying that it frustrates accountability for government money.
In line with the abuse of federation offices, international competitions have for a while been manipulated as a channel to hand tours to non-athletes, and along the way, several athletes have been denied the opportunity to represent their country.
Ogwang vowed to bring an end to this dubious act that he called “tourism”, stating that he would rather have 20 athletes on a trip than a hundred that have nothing to do with the sport.
He then pinpointed problems that he supposes the Sports sector is currently facing and among them were; inadequate funding, insufficient sports infrastructure, issues of governance, and legal framework, and he pledged to address them in his tenure.
For infrastructure, Ogwang disclosed that the government already has a strategy to have at least one school established in every district, having all sports infrastructure, to solve limited facilities and aid talent development.
He also announced that the Teryet High Altitude training center will be commissioned in December and the contractors renovating Mandela National Stadium in Namboole have six months to unveil the first phase of renovation or else face his other side.
The Minister’s speech on government funding did not sit well with many of the leaders in attendance as he said the allocation will be result-based going forward and could be gauged according to the medals/achievements a federation can present.
“I need medals. You can not have money if I don’t see medals. I have athletics giving me medals with little money, Rugby went to the World cup, and Cricket won Africa Cup. We are not going to negotiate about this.” He declared.
Some of the federation representatives like the General Secretary of the Ludo federation Faisal Sendi Katumba, Uganda Lacrosse President Ken Kasule, and Uganda Cycling Association President Sam Muwonge reacted to the statement, saying the government can not milk a cow they don’t feed, their federations being some of those that have not been fully funded by the government.
Mid-way through the speech, the Minister mentioned Volleyball as one of the most declining sports in the Country, reminiscing of how it was one of the top sports during his days growing up.
In an exclusive, Afrosports had a chat with the Uganda Volleyball Federation’s 1st Vice President Ahmed Kiggundu and this is what he had to say about the Minister’s statement.
“We invite officials for volleyball tournaments and non of them turn up. I personally wrote a letter to the Minister Ogwang, inviting him for the National Club Championships in Iganga and we didn’t even get notified whether he would show up or not.” An infuriated Kiggundu said.
“How do you expect a sport to thrive when it is denied opportunities to utilize National Sports facilities like the indoor in Lugogo? Volleyball is one of the sports that can fill up that stadium. We are currently playing the national league at a privately owned facility because basketball is given priority over volleyball.” He added.
Kiggundu then revealed that it is from efforts by individuals and well-wishers that the National Volleyball League have a ground at the old Kampala Arena.
Nevertheless, Ogwang also said he would like to see a harmonious functioning Sports sub-sector and by this, he will start with visiting every sports federation at their offices, starting Monday 3rd October.
At the same function, the Four medalists from the Birmingham Commonwealth Games 2022 we’re rewarded.
-Jacob Kiplimo won 2 Gold medals & was rewarded with Ugx.100Million
-Victor Kiplangat won 1 Gold and received Ugx.50Million
-Peruth Chemutai &Teddy Nakimuli each received Ugx.20Million for the bronze medals.