Tuesday,November 13,2018 22:41 PM

USPA gala was a huge success

By James Bakama

Added 17th July 2017 01:52 PM

One of the bright moments that will always make the awards night stand out was the dress code.

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One of the bright moments that will always make the awards night stand out was the dress code.

It was a gala of many firsts. For starters, it was the first time journalists were crowning outstanding sportsmen in the second part of the year.

You could probably blame that on the tough financial times. Thank God, Uganda Sports Press Association and Nile Breweries finally pulled it off. Though late, it will always be a gala to remember.

One of the bright moments that will always make the awards night stand out was the dress code. The “Made in Uganda” standard was a winner.

Right from the Gomesi, Kanzus, Bitengi to the other neat casual dresses and shirts, the attendees were not only smart, but also truly Ugandan.

I have had my share of galas in suits in hot hotel halls. By the time you are done with the four hour event even a sauna sounds like a joke.

Then of course there was also the fact that the event was graced by someone from the first family- Maj. Gen. Muhoozi Kainerugaba as chief guest.

Don’t be surprised if Kainerugaba next time interests his father- President Yoweri Museveni to preside over the same function.

There are indeed already signs that that the head of state could be paying special interest. This is at least if, Museveni’s offer to USPA in Friday’s gala is anything to go by.

Museveni offered sh30m towards USPA’s Savings and Credit Scheme (SACCO). This was also the first of such grants to the sports body.

In these hard times, cooperatives are the way to go. Sports journalism is one of those low paying professions in this country.

Such a scheme could therefore go a long way in boosting members’ livelihood. There are so many successful SACCO’s USPA can borrow a leaf from in their quest for financial independence.

But of course this will call for some discipline. You have certainly not forgotten the sh150m that Museveni gave Uganda Journalists Association in 2009.

The money sparked off a bitter split in the association with UJA’s leadership accused of embezzlement.

But perhaps the most refreshing thing that came out of the awards the night was the journalists’ choice of sportsman of the year.

The UJA scandal should serve as a learning experience for USPA, who have more to protect in 40 solid years of professional service.

Such professionalism was again on display on Friday in USPA’s choice of sportsman of the year.

After Denis Onyango being robbed of the title by his own federation, there couldn’t have been a better USPA choice.

The Mamelodi Sundowns goalkeeper was rightly chosen by the journalists as their choice for top sportsman for 2016.

Despite winning the CAF Champions League and thereafter emerging as Africa’s best home based player, local soccer governing body FUFA surprisingly did not see him worthy of its footballer of the year award.

Indeed, like the Bible saying goes- prophets are without honor in their own homes. Thank God USPA thought otherwise.


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