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Uganda is turning into a sports hub

By Vision Reporter

Added 27th April 2015 02:24 PM

Is Uganda becoming a sports hub? There are all signs that the answer here is in the affirmative.

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Is Uganda becoming a sports hub? There are all signs that the answer here is in the affirmative.

By James Bakama

Is Uganda becoming a sports hub? There are all signs that the answer here is in the affirmative.

Uganda has not only won bids, but also gone on to host over 10 international competitions over the past two years.

Last year alone we staged the World University Cross-country and the Africa Cross-country Championships.

You are not allowed to stage such huge events if you do not have well proven capacity.

We have also just successfully hosted the Africa Zone Six Golf Championships. Then, there was also the Africa Zone 4.2 Chess Championship that ended on Saturday. The numbers have fast grown to an extent that the All Africa Games volleyball qualifiers almost passed unnoticed in Kampala last week.

The biggest of all these events in Uganda will come in 2017 when we host the World Cross-country. In order to win hosting rights, you should be able to meet some standards.

For instance your hotels must measure up just like your sports facilities must be up to a given standard.

Before Uganda could win the world cross-country bid, it was subjected to a highly competitive bid process where it edged much more developed states.

Playing hosts also comes with certain advantages like improved infrastructure, a boost in sports standards and improved visibility of the sport on top of a boost in managerial skills.

Numbers of people involved in these sports also ends up growing. Then of course there are also the tourism benefits.

When foreigners come here they spend. That this is in foreign currency like dollars is a boost to the economy.

Interestingly, sports is not a priority in Uganda meaning that there has been minimal government investment in these ventures. That in effect means that the respective federations or sports bodies have invested a fortune to make Uganda shine.

My prayer is that Uganda’s most popular sport — football also realises the benefits that come with hosting big events.

By a big event, I do not mean the CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup. We need to raise the bar and seriously bid for instance; the Africa Cup of Nations. Our neighbours Rwanda, not far back a sports dwarf, are now strides ahead of us. They will be hosting Africa Nations Championships (CHAN) next year.

That is why I insist on bidding for the AFCON. Since we have for 37 years failed to qualify for the competition’s final tournament,
why not jump for the easier option of hosting.

All we need is a second stadium and our football fortunes could be turned around by the benefits accruing from hosting.

Our sports authorities should not be scared by the task of staging a major football event.

That we have successfully organised major events in other disciplines, should serve as a boost in confidence for FUFA that they can also do it. We can only become a true sports hub with football also in the mix.

Uganda is turning into a sports hub

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