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Ndejje scaling new heights

By James Bakama

Added 23rd December 2019 12:00 AM

What is it that has made Ndejje stand out to an extent of even outwitting even more established and better-financed universities?

Ndejje scaling new heights

What is it that has made Ndejje stand out to an extent of even outwitting even more established and better-financed universities?

When you talk about university sports in Uganda one of the first things that come to mind is Ndejje.

For almost a decade, the Luweero based university has been an institution of distinction.

They have won five consecutive titles of the prestigious Association of Uganda University Sports Games - the latest of these biennial triumphs was just two days ago in Kisubi.

Ndejje cruised to victory in the five-day after amassing 10 gold medals together with seven silvers and one bronze.

At the start of these games in 1992, it was understandably Uganda's oldest and biggest university - Makerere dominating. But that has since changed.

So, what is it that has made Ndejje stand out to an extent of even outwitting even more established and better-financed universities?

Paul Kayongo, Ndejje's Bursar, summed it up. "Since Ndejje's inception, it's administration has focused on sports as one of its core areas.

The university invests heavily. No wonder Ndejje has some of the best sports facilities in the country.

This is coupled with a deliberate effort to not only attract but also develop and then even expose the same talent to even much bigger fora.

But of course, talent can't thrive on itself thus the employment of some of Uganda's best coaches. Ndejje has also put in place some of Uganda's best facilities.

Its athletics track is only beaten by the national facility at Namboole. Their swimming pool, volleyball and basketball courts together with football field are also among Uganda's best.

When it comes to woodball, they have raised their game even a level higher. They not only have the playing area, but also an equipment manufacturing factory

Then when it comes to personnel, they have some of the world's best players and administrators.

Kayongo is vice president of the global body while players like Onesmus Atamba and Lillian Zawedde have won on the world stage.

Ndejje is, as a result, today the epicentre of woodball development in Africa.

With this kind of presence on a global scale, need you then ask why the same institution shouldn't dominate on the local scene?

Ndejje is following the same model of numerous US universities. Universities make a fortune from their multi-million dollar sports circuit by attracting the world's best talent with scholarships.

Julius Achon, Francis Ogola and Sarah Nambawa are just some of the numerous Ugandan athletes that went through the same circuit.

The only unfortunate thing is that Uganda's university sports circuit is yet to become a money-making machine.

For now, Ndejje, which by seriously getting into sports development has taken on an effort of national magnitude, can only pray that their programmes are subsidised by the government.

Ndejje can at the moment pride in the reduction of their advertisement budget. The publicity that accrues from their sports excellence is huge.

But despite all this, Ndejje could still do better. It is for instance time they thought of upgrading their athletics track to modern tartan. They could also do with Uganda's first 50-meter swimming pool.

That aside, Ndejje still stands out as a sports icon that other universities in the region should emulate.

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