By Michael Nsubuga
The newly elected president of the Uganda Golf Union, Kiryowa Kiwanuka has singled out development of the national team as one of the key areas that his executive will focus on in its two-year term.
In an exclusive interview with New Vision, Kiwanuka said special emphasis will be placed on the development of the national team with golfers subjected to qualifiers before making it to the team.
The first of these qualifiers will be held next week over four days to pick a team for the Zone Six and Africa Junior championships due in South Africa and Zambia in April.
“We want to keep a big field of about 20 golfers this time on the national team. So for us, this is going to be our biggest challenge because we must maintain these players to keep them in top form throughout the year,” Kiwanuka said.
“Uganda might not win any of these tournaments, but what I know for sure is that the team will earn respect, because of the organisation, discipline and the good golf that will be played. We want the national team golfers to grow knowing they have a duty to perform with the national team,” he added.
Kiwanuka pointed that unlike in the past, the Union will hold training camps for national team golfers ahead of major competitions.
“We shall not allow the national flag to be carried by people who are not well prepared. It is a choice that we must make as a Union because even if we don’t win, we must earn respect at all these major events,” Kiwanuka stated.
He advised those who finally make it to the team to watch their discipline as this will be key in maintaining their places on the team.
Apart from spreading the sport countrywide, Kiwanuka’s executive will also set up a legally recognised office for the Union on top of opening up communication channels through a website.
“We have asked NCS to provide us with premises so that we can have a fully-fledged office with a full time administrator to manage all affairs of golf. The entire committee is full of volunteers with other jobs everyday so we need someone who will follow up all golf issues,” Kiwanuka reasoned.
The Union will also engage Government in the course of its operations.
“The UGU is by law affiliated to NCS therefore our plan must tie into the plan of the Government of Uganda. So when we get organised, then we can go with our plan to Government and we compare with theirs so that we can marry the two to take the sport forward,” he added.
There will be junior development programmes and these will be implemented by setting up development camps in Jinja, Toro and Kasese.
Kiwanuka argues that they should tap into the already existing juniors’ structure as they spread the catchment area to other clubs.
Last year, the national team was composed of players from these clubs.
The Union will budget and plan accordingly for all events and try to run a centralised calendar so that there are no clashes of events on the same dates.
The executive will continue to engage different sponsors but also ensure that they benefit from commercial mileage out of their sponsorships.
Major events will be held on a rotational basis to ensure that the different clubs reap from the benefits that come with hosting high-profile tournaments.