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Friday,September 20,2019 08:08 AM

It’s time UBF thought beyond Lugogo

By James Bakama

Added 27th May 2019 12:00 AM

It’s not cast in stone that boxing should be in Lugogo

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It’s not cast in stone that boxing should be in Lugogo

The Lugogo gym was specifically made for boxing. It must have been built about 1954 when most of the facilities in the Lugogo sports complex were completed. It’s in this gym that teams on national duty fine-tuned.

Legends like Eridad Mukwanga, Leo Rwabwogo, Ayub Kalule, John ‘The Beast’ Mugabi and Kassim ‘The Dream’ Ouma all honed their skills here.

But as it turns out, the facility has lately been privatised and is today a commercial physical fitness centre. This has rendered the national boxing team homeless.

You only have to go to Lugogo today and you will find pugilists in all sorts of awkward places training. Uganda Boxing Federation literally has to beg for brief moments in the gym.

Matters are not helped by the ongoing rainy season. That this has coincided with preparations for major events like the All Africa Games and Africa Championships, has messed UBF’s programs.

You would wonder why the landlord-National Council of Sports (NCS) would allow this to happen. This is more so when the boxers only actively use the facility for say three months in an entire year.

A critical look at Lugogo and its environs seems to indicate that NCS is under pressure. Go to Lugogo any day and you will find the place overcrowded to an extent that even the cricket oval whose greens were previously sacred are now ever crowded with all sorts of sports.

It has to do with Kampala’s population surge. This complex was made when the city had less than 200,000 people. Today the capital has up to 2,000,000 people during the day!

Matters have not been helped by the snapping up of most sports facilities for non-sports related activities.

As the country develops, so do also chronic diseases, which can best be combated through physical activity. This has resulted in an unquenchable demand for sports facilities. I believe it was a result of such demand that NCS opted to commercialise the gym.

That, of course, does not mean that they did the right thing. But isn’t it also time UBF started thinking outside Lugogo?

Instead of having what was initially a store for an office and banking on a gym they might never regain, why not develop their own home?

Bodies like FUFA and Uganda Athletics Federation are today taken seriously partly because they have serious homes.

Woodball that only started ten years ago is also constructing a sports complex in Wakiso. Even boxing clubs like East Coast own a home!

What happened to the Luzira land that former boxer Godfrey Nyakana offered UBF two years ago? If Luzira wasn’t feasible, UBF should look elsewhere.

Namboole, which has lots of sports land, is one place to consider. It’s not cast in stone that boxing should be in Lugogo.

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