LAWRENCE Mulindwa’s eight-year term as FUFA President expired on Saturday. Below is his full farewell speech that highlighted all that was achieved, challenges and what the new executive should build on in trying to further develop Ugandan football.
Firstly, I congratulate the incoming FUFA President Eng. Moses Magogo and his Executive Committee members upon being elected to steer the federation for the next four years. Congratulations!
My leadership as FUFA President and that of my entire Executive Committee came to an end yesterday. I want to commend the commitment and dedication in service delivery done by my Executive Committee which has put the game of football in Uganda in a more strategic position ready to develop even faster.
The FUFA Delegates, FUFA Secretariat, standing committees, the media, fans, sponsors and government have all played a key role in guiding my Administration in areas of football development to an admirable level that the whole country is now celebrating. I thank you all.
The Uganda Coaches, referees, club administrators, players at all levels and their technical benches have also been key partners in making football in our country worth celebrating.
Football in Uganda is at a level where individuals and institutions are more willing than ever before to associate with it. This is highly demonstrated during national team and super league matches among others.
My report outlines the progress registered, challenges faced and I have further provided possible guidance for continued development of the game of football as highlighted in the details below:
My Administration has witnessed quite a number of changes in the statutes for guidance and regulation of association football. This was all done in accordance with CAF and FIFA statutes. FUFA is now fully functional and moving lawfully with operational statutes at both national and regional levels.
All structures in the federation are functional which is a good contribution to the success of association football. These structures include: the General Assembly, Executive committee, the Secretariat, Standing Committee, and the Judicial Bodies.
All property is under the control of FUFA including the ones that had earlier been mortgaged by the former administration we succeeded. I am proud to mention that the current FUFA Assets Register now includes important items like land, vehicles, buildings and computers among others. All relevant documents related to them are in the hands of the custodian of FUFA property, the Chief Executive Officer.
Mandatory Administrative meetings
During my tenure, I have ensured that the mandatory Annual General Assemblies, periodic Executive Committee sittings, Standing Committees and Judiciary bodies meetings are all held regularly. This has been a key tool in providing guidance to all my administrative actions. Copies of minutes are available on file.
A good number of capacity building courses including coaching, refereeing, administration, medical and beach soccer were held. I am very proud of this position because my hands contributed to a pool of competent instructors and administrators in the country. Some of these individuals have been called up as CAF and FIFA Instructors. FUFA now has an IT room and library for any football person to associate with and learn as he/she wishes.
Decentralized football Management
As a result of empowering administrators from top to bottom levels, the country’s leagues have grown strong in management of football at the levels of super league, Big league, regional league, zonal league and district league. We how have five tiers.
Corporate Social Responsibility
My Administration has been mindful about the communities we associate with. Out of this brother/sister hood, I made football touch charity organizations. Uganda Cranes visited Sanyu Babies home and shared with the disadvantaged.
Establishment of physical structures
Njeru Technical Centre is almost fully complete and functional. Some competitions like the FUFA President’s U16 Youth Cup have been held in the facility before and on the same note the FUFA Annual General Assembly 2013 is under progress in the same venue.
During my presidency, FUFA has held three democratic and successful elections for all leaders at all levels. This has exposed football to good governance.
Under my leadership, the FUFA Assembly created the ‘Fufa Limited’ that gave FUFA a legal status. We are now able to transact businesses with the business world since we can sue or be sued. A number of big contracts have been signed and indeed FUFA has benefited from this legal status financially and socially.
Uganda Cranes brand
My presidency has witnessed Uganda Cranes grow from a neglected product to a “very big brand” that everyone likes to associate with.
It is on record that fans have on many occasions flooded Namboole to catch a glimpse of Uganda Cranes play to enjoyable wins. A case in point is when Uganda Cranes played against Guinea Bissau in 2010. Namboole was flooded with fans. Similar scenarios occurred during the Kenya, Zambia, Nigeria and Angola games.
It is only record that in Year 2010, Uganda visited Kenya with the biggest number of fans in the AFCON qualifications. I pray that this love for our game continues to grow even bigger.
Unbeaten home record in 90 minutes
It is an eight year record that has run during the whole period I have served as President of FUFA. The whole country is proud of this home record and I am praying hard that God helps us keep it up. I highly attribute that to the competent Administration I have spear headed. This has made all visiting national teams look under-dogs in the face of Ugandans. During this period, it is on record that we have beaten the very best in Africa, the likes of Nigeria and Angola.
Highly improved welfare of national team players
It is one area my administration put emphasis on and it created a situation where all good players both at home and outside have done their best to attract a call to national duty and join-in accordingly. I have not witnessed a situation where FUFA failed to pay allowances, accommodation, travel tickets, Medical fees and any other utilities in the eight years I have been holding the country’s most top football position.
Uniformity in dressing was highly catered for at home and outside respectively. Uganda did not at any one time borrow uniforms from petty street vendors as it was the case before.
Chartered flight for national team and fans
For the first time in Uganda and this was in 2012, Uganda Cranes charted a flight using Air Uganda to play against Zambia’s Chipolopolo in Zambia. Arrangements of this nature should continue where possible.
Winning away matches
This was unheard of before my Administration assumed office but as I leave today, Uganda has registered a number of Wins away from home, notably against Guinea Bissau, Tanzania and in other competitions like the Nile Basin. Our CECAFA Challenge Cup record continues to grow stronger.
My administration boasted of a vibrant communications department that created a cordial working relationship with different media houses. As a result, the media has put a lot of attention on football matters. Such positive and timely coverage partly contributed to sponsor attraction and fans in our game.
Relations with fans, government, sponsors, FIFA and CAF
FUFA Marriage with the above has been fantastic and to be honest, I have enjoyed the relationship and I have failed to remember a situation where our relationship was dented to the worst.
Successful host of CECAFA tournaments
During my administration, Uganda hosted two successful CECAFA competitions in 2008/9 and 2012. In both tournaments, Uganda emerged Champion.
Revival of Inter-Regional competition
It was during my regime that the competitions were revived and as I leave office, five (5) successful editions have so far been held in Lira (2009), Kabale (2010), Tororo (2011), Arua (2012) and Hoima (2013). I commend MTN for their continued sponsorship of this event.
CAF and FIFA Ranking
As I assumed office, Uganda was ranked 128th in the world but now it is in 77th and 16th position in FIFA and CAF rankings respectively. The positions reflect tremendous improvement in performance but the other important point is that it gives our players a chance to compete and play in big leagues like the English Premier League for greener pasture, which was not the case before. It’s a federation challenge to keep working for even better positions in the future.
Uganda for the first time during my administration introduced and held awards for outstanding players and coaches in the top league.
FUFA President’s Cup
My office initiated, introduced, and held the FUFA President Cup in 2012.The competitions were held in Njeru Technical Centre with every region well represented.
Dominance in CECAFA
During my administration, Uganda has emerged Champions of CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup four times (2008, 2009, 2011, and 2012).
In the CECAFA region, every person who follows football matters will automatically confess that Uganda is the region’s giant. The four titles won in the last 8 years now brings up the total to 13 trophies Uganda has won since 1973.
The nine are distributed among different regimes that served in the same position for the 32 years between 1973 and 2005.
My administration has seen Uganda qualify twice for the CHAN finals. Our players have continued enjoying opportunities of exposing their talent to the outside world since CHAN is relayed on television live for the whole world to watch.
Uganda Cranes used to survive on very few professional players before I assumed office. We used to feed on one or two professional players but currently, the number has shot to more than 70 coming out of our well organized competitions. This graduation from amateur to professional soccer will continue to benefit our national teams.
Participation in all international matches
It’s on record that my administration has honored all CAF, CECAFA and World Cup matches. This has been spiced up by engaging all good players at home and outside. There has been no failure to honor any match and no penalty to that effect has ever been imposed on Uganda during my tenure.
Out of the good and trusted leadership/image, FUFA attracted sponsorship from a number of companies namely, MTN, NIC, GTV, Airtel, Coca Cola, Nile Breweries, City Tyres and Bell. I am very grateful to all these companies for the existing relationship.
This is one area that tremendously improved during my administration with fewer refereeing complaints being filed. At no one time have I heard of a “Referee Arrow Group” as was in the past. In FUFA organized competitions in the past eight years, FIFA badges have been given on merit as opposed to patronage.
Improvement in revenue collections
At the time I joined the administration, FUFA basket could hardly raise funds to a tune I am leaving it. I am leaving collections at a tune of 5 billion shillings annually from less than 500 million shillings.
If you can recall, the last match “Uganda Vs Burkina Faso” for the administration I succeeded was watched by around two hundred fans in Namboole. My administration on the other hand has left behind a record attendance of more than sixty thousand fans in a single match.
Beach Soccer and Futsal
FUFA under my administration continued to grow and develop beach soccer through the Uganda Beach soccer Association.
Several competitions and national leagues have been organized at Lido Beach. Courses for referees and coaches were conducted by FIFA instructors. The game is already attracting a good number of fans.
Capacity building opportunities have been availed to women football coaches, administrators, referees and school games teachers. FUFA initiated and organized Inter regional women’s football competitions, Inter school competition for both primary and secondary school girls.
The national women’s senior team (Crested Crane) and the U -20 women team have continued to participate in CAF competitions.
As a result of our partnership with USA, an expert in women football M/s Lisa Berg has been in Uganda to help develop the game for the last three years.
Over the eight years of my administration at FUFA, we established structures to enhance youth football competitions for several age groups. They included the U14 City Tyres, U16 airtel rising stars and U17 in Inter-zonal competitions. FUFA also competed in CECAFA U17 hosted by Sudan and U20 hosted by Burundi and Eritrea where Uganda lifted the trophy twice.
Players like Isinde Isaac, Walusimbi Godfrey, Emmanuel Okwi, Oloya Moses, Dhaira Abby, Sserunkuuma Dan, Kimera Ali, Kizito Luwagga, Geoffrey Kizito, Brian Majwegga and Iguma Denis among many others have since graduated from these under age team to feature for our National ‘A’ team the Cranes.
National team structure
As I leave office, Uganda currently has three National Teams for male players namely the Kobs (U-17), Hippos (U-20) and the Cranes. All the national teams have management structures headed by Head coaches. My administration took keen interest in employing professional head coaches for Uganda Cranes in particular. Currently it is headed by Coach Micho Sredejovich. I must say, in all my years of governance, professionalism in transactions of the national teams have been highly exhibited.
(i) Inadequate funding
This has been one of the biggest challenges. In principal, the national teams are meant to be fully facilitated by government but the facilitation has been too little and in some cases not done completely. This partly impacted on the national team performance.
ii) Abrupt changes in CAF rules and regulations
The impact was mostly felt during qualification stages and mainly at the last games. The abrupt changes caused Uganda to miss out on qualification since the criteria did not favour us. A case in point was in year 2006 when Uganda had almost qualified but lost out as a result of these abrupt changes.
(iii) Putting the game in disrepute
As you are aware, there are a few individuals who have fought the game of football in court, on radios, in newspapers and even on field of play. That group of individuals has always had selfish interests but most annoying is the intention to bend the laws of the game in their own interests. I have always stood firm against such practices, exposed them and I am happy football has always won in the end.
- Team work and consultation should remain key among all stake holders.
- Stick to the laws of the game, fight and expose any practices bringing football to disrepute.
- Maintain the good image of FUFA and make more friends among fans, secretariat, football fraternity, Government and sponsors.
I want to pledge my selfless support to the game of football and I will continue serving voluntarily.
Lastly I want to dedicate my eight years of service, on behalf of the entire football leadership, to the “FANS” of football in Uganda. These fans have supported us in kind and cash all these years, but above all, they have been my bench mark in the performance I am celebrating.