BY JERMAINE EGESA
Every other weekend that passes by makes the statement, “What A Time To Be Alive” hold more meaning to the sports enthusiast I believe myself to be. The numbers in the stands, the distances covered by multitudes to cheer on the sporting athletes & the feats pulled off by these superstars that proudly write “Ugandan” on any document that queries their nationality!
The StarTimes Uganda Premier League witnessed a shocker on Friday (Well, shocker given the disparity in form) as KCCA summoned up their ability of the old & handed Vipers their first season defeat. A game per excellence with an attendance my eye would classify as record setting! The Rugby Cranes and Lady Rugby Cranes fell short of the age-old test of the Elgon Cup, but I will take the positives in the gulf of class shrunk and the swelling ranks of loyal fans willing to cross oceans and borders for their team! Tunisia is around the corner, Asante na njoo tena! Jas Mangat & Yasin Nasser skipped past the border and competed in the Tanzania Rally, Jas winning the Rally as Nasser came 5th, positions that could only afford them podium places, 2nd & 3rd in the hunt for the African Rally Championship… What A Time To Be Alive”
Speaking of Speed Merchants, Dare-devils & Petro-Heads, this weekend promises more thrills as the National Motocross Championship will have its final hurrah this season at the Victoria Raceway Track, Garuga on Sunday. While interviewing FMU Vice President Reynolds Kibira on NBS Sport’s Premier Sport with Joel Khamadi, he spoke with vim regarding the event and growth of the sport as well as challenges it faces…. One piqued my bloodhound sense, Infrastructure.
As it stands, Garuga is left with 2 years on its lease to FMU but hopes are the Bakunda family (avid supporters of all motorsport) will allow it renewed. Busiika is the other home of Motocross & belongs to Barack Orland, who has been gracious enough to permit races at his premises.
However, a nagging little voice at the back of many a fan’s head is how long these graces will be sanctioned as his sons, the trio of Aviv, Stav & Alon have sought stiffer competition in South Africa, leaving the family with little to benefit from heats on their property! The Kasanje Racetrack is still work in progress at exorbitant cost to proprietor. In a nutshell, in 2 years’ time, Motocross might have no track to race on! Yes, I know, it sounds alarmist, but is a very real (and frightening) prospect. And this isn’t limited to just Motocross alone!
FUFA and the Uganda Premier League always have the devil’s own luck when it comes to pitch inspection for the start of a season. To develop the game, minimum standards on stadiums among other things must be enforced, however to enforce those stadiums to the letter is to either start a season with less than half the teams in the league or consider playing in a Covid-like bubble environment!
And don’t get me started on the national team that currently has to host its matches away from home (Morocco at the moment). Last I checked, of the two stadiums that ought to host it’s matches, one is over 3 years past due delivery date & the other graduated from a Crusade/Convention Centre to an Emergency Intensive Care Unit and finally to a renovation deadline decimator that would shake the faith of even the most hardened puritan!
The sweet science of boxing that adorned Uganda with glory in yester-years doesn’t even have a ring post to hang its hat, African sensations of netball are perpetual nomads seeking grounds to hone their craft, the cricket oval in Lugogo has hosted more performing arts exhibitions than the National Theatre in the last 5 years while the National High Altitude Training Centre…. Well, I guess will be just that when all the phases of construction are complete.
The feat of drawing water from a rock is marvel of supernatural strength that I know of only two instances that jump to mind. Once by a giant, after Jack of the beanstalk fame tricked him by squeezing a slice of cheese and the other, Moses after growing weary of the whining of the children of Israel petitioned the Almighty who permitted him strike a rock and draw forth water. We might yet see another Moses in our times, particularly if entity that continues to fund these sporting disciplines expects the beleaguered federations to keep producing top results minus the necessary infrastructure in place…. But then again, What do I know?