Change is one of those things that are not easily embraced in Ugandan football. But starting next month, Ugandans will have no option but adopt to a new format
Change is one of those things that are not easily embraced in Ugandan football. But starting next month, Ugandans will have no option but adopt to a new format aimed at meeting a FIFA directive for a uniform global soccer calendar.
The world soccer governing body wants a soccer season that runs from August to May.
To the Ugandan, used to a February-November season, the new format will be like having Christmas in March.
The Federation of Uganda Football Associations (FUFA) has gone for a gradual change that will have the new format adopted over a three-year period. Much as it might be an inconvenience to the conservatives, it is well intentioned.
Like they say, good things come at a cost. Teams will in the transition period have to bear the pain of crowded fixtures. Clubs like Police that had to play nine matches in a fortnight towards the end of the league will tell you so.
FIFA on its part wanted an end to clashes especially between European clubs and African nations over players. Africaâ€™s premier soccer competitionâ€”the Nations Cup in January, comes for instance at a time when top European clubs need their players most.
The move should be beneficial to Uganda in another way. What was fast growing into a tradition of early dismissal of our teams from continental competitions, that start before out clubs pick early form, could be history.
North African countries with an August to May format have always been advantaged by better preparation. At the time the continental calendar starts in February, these countries are six months into their seasons.
We should not for instance be surprised that Express, using a new coach and players at the start of the last season, was ejected by an ordinary-looking Mehalla from Egypt.
But, the fact that Ugandan sides have on some occasions given the North African giants a run for their money, shows what could happen when we have similar seasons.
That the Castle Cup and CECAFA Senior and Club Championships come before the continental calender, is also a tactical boost
There is therefore no reason why Ugandans should not embrace the new format.
New season format is okay