There is something phenomenal happening in Uganda’s top football league. It has all the markings of a wave that could thrust us to new heights.
This is particularly evident amongst the traditional giants Express, KCCA and Villa together with Vipers.
Financiers are scrambling for these clubs. The most recent is the country’s oldest club- Express. Kiryowa Kiwanuka, a grandson of the Red Eagles’ founder Jolly Joe Kiwanuka, got many by surprise when he announced he was taking charge at Wankulukuku.
We later learnt that an August 14 Express Sports Club Limited extraordinary meeting resolved to appoint Kiryowa club and board chairman.
This came like a burst of fresh air in a club that was only saved from relegation in the concluded season by a last gasp effort.
Thank God that Hassan Bulwadda, a son of another Express founder member Zacharia Bulwadda had stepped in.
Express would today be in the lower tiers.
But what is so special about Kiryowa? For starters, he brings to the table that resource that has been lacking at Wankulukuku-cash.
Even before fully swinging into action on the club’s executive he brought on board one of East Africa’s fastest growing banks-Equity Bank in a sh100m marriage with Express.
But even more to all this, Kiryowa, one of President Yoweri Museveni’s lawyers, is also very well connected.
There have been almost similar interventions in the other giants, ultimately pointing to a very competitive league.
KCCA, with the full backing of the City Hall, and Vipers financed by philanthropist Dr. Lawrence Mulindwa, dfcu Bank and Hima Cement, had become the only bulls in the kraal.
The two giants actually seemed to have got into a comfort zone with KCCA, who have won three of the last five titles, even affording to field school boys.
Then something happened at Villa Park last month.
With the Jogoos on their knees after exit of Engineer Ben Misagga, the club’s historicals intervened.
Amongst these was Omar Ahmed, popularly known as Mandela, of the thriving City Tyres, Mandela Auto Spares and Javas business empire.
So what does this all mean?
With a cash injection in the four clubs, competition should be boosted.
So be prepared to see packed stadia again especially in matches involving Express, KCCA and Villa. Big crowds in turn also mean more sponsors.
Ultimately the improved standards also boost the standard of the national team and Uganda’s CAF club representatives.
As the product grows there should also be a realisation from the clubs that they form local football’s most powerful constituency.
This status should in turn come with more club involvement in determining what direction the industry takes.
That aside I just can’t wait for the new season to kick-off.