Thursday August 21 2014

Will the MoU review committee be any different?

Fuba have failed to hold the Airtel National

Fuba have failed to hold the Airtel National Basketball League games at the MTN Arena. PHOTO BY ISMAIL KEZAALA 

By Andrew Mwanguhya

Oh, probe committees! Well, a new one is upon us, and in this one, its chairman Zubairi Galiwango, Margaret Rwabushaijja, Dennis Mbidde and Charles Egou who must sit down with telecom company MTN and ensure that the topflight basketball league is back at the NCS Arena, Lugogo.
Okay, not just basketball league’s return; but ensure future competing telecom companies sponsoring other sporting disciplines have a working relationship with MTN.
This committee, named by National Council of Sports chairman Bosco Onyik, is meant to – together with MTN – review an MoU entered between the telecom company and the sports council in January 2009 to refurbish the facility.
They are meant to, for example, review the clause that allows MTN full rights to advertise in and around the stadium at all times of the exclusivity 10-year period, and ensure right of exercising first refusal in case of competing brands like Airtel, who are incidentally the topflight basketball league sponsors, is revised.
That committee should have started on their work like yesterday and without a doubt, MTN will put up some fight.
But with a history of several probe committees not serving the intended purpose, one would be right to doubt Galiwango’s. The onus is on him, really.

• 2010: Geoffrey Kihuguru-led Delhi report into mismanagement of Team Uganda at 2010 Commonwealth Games was rubbished and withheld by then UOC president Rogers Ddungu because it did not fulfill his desires
• 2012: Abbas Kawaase committee charged with getting lasting solution to differences between Fufa & USL. Kawaase was to later head the FSL, a league whose formation he questioned in his report. It also ruled that the 11-year-ban of Kavuma Kabenge was wrong. Fufa have never overturned it.
2014: UAF report into sex scandal submitted to Education ministry made no mention of Peter Wemali, the coach accused of sexually harassing female athletes. Yet, two members of the probe committee insist they recommended a life ban for the coach

Fufa, at last, tick right box with ticket discount

Often we have wondered why the people at Mengo struggle to wear their thinking heads; even when exercising them seems the most effortless of tasks.

Unsurprisingly, we have witnessed several of their mindboggling stratagems over years.

From deploying utterly clueless men to man gates on Cranes match days to forcing a team from the BBC Sports World - who ate up miles from London to come over and broadcast live a Nations Cup qualifier against Zambia late 2012 - to pay entrance fee, they have conjured up some real wonders.

But as luck would have it, it collided with the Fufa marketing team this week regarding the 12th man; that person who makes most of the noise in the general stands.

In according a 25 percent discount to the first 5,000 fans who purchase the general stands ticket that goes for Shs20,000, Fufa have demonstrated some marketing skills that have long evaded them, or the reverse.

Plus, while all fans buying tickets of Shs20,000 stand a chance to win a Toyota Nadia, those purchasing the Shs50,000 ticket will be able to use it for all three home games; with the Shs120,000 spenders entitled to a replica jersey.

Whether fans will rush to save that Shs5,000 remains to be seen, but that it is the benevolent, at the same time correct commercial gesture is in no doubt.

Manchester United must prove they are not cash-strapped

Marcos Rojo is United's latest signing

Marcos Rojo is United's latest signing

What if Manchester United had started with ‘their’ new look team against Swansea last weekend?

David de Gea in goal, Marcos Rojo/Luke Shaw, Daley Blind/Mehdi Benatia, and Phil Jones/Mats Hummels as the back three; Angel di Maria and Juan Cuadrado the roving wingbacks.

Ander Herrera and Arturo Vidal alternating in front of the defence, with Juan Mata linking up play with Wayne Rooney, and Chicharito (Robin van Persie was not fit for the match yet) as Di Maria and Cuadrado join the numbers in a sway of attacks! We could go on and on with the names.

Now, that would have been vintage United in full flow and typical Louis van Gaal side technically.

But dejectedly for the United faithful, that line-up has only played out in the media; like it has frustratingly been over the recent years at the red end of Manchester.

United vice chairman Ed Woodward has for umpteenth time assured all and sundry of the availability of funds for LVG to strengthen the lacking areas.

But bar Shaw (£27m) and Herrera (£28.85m), who the Dutch manager only approved rather than sought, there has been little to suggest the said funds are actually available.

Swansea’s brutal 2-1 exposure of the frailties in the United squad only worked to hasten the acquisition of Rojo, the Sporting Lisbon defender, for £16m and Nani going the opposite direction on a season-long loan.

But even that is not enough. United still need two proven central defenders, a dominant midfielder to dictate play, and a forward in the Di Maria frame if they are to return to the top four. There has been ripe talk that Woodward’s buzz of ‘available funds’ is only bar discourse. The onus is on United to prove it is not.

Make Fiba Zone V numbers count

For the first time in recent memory, Uganda will have full representation at this year’s Fiba Africa Zone V Club Championships that tip off in Mombasa, Kenya next week.

Lack of finances to make the journey to either Rwanda, Tanzania or Burundi in recent years, which deficit largely comes down to most Ugandan sporting clubs’ lack of proper planning, has seen local clubs pull out of the championships; Falcons being this year’s culprits.

Fortunately, Tiger Head Power – regulars at pulling out of the regional championships themselves - replaced last season’s runners-up and join the 2013 Airtel National Basketball League (ANBL) champions and Zone V debutants City Oilers as Uganda’s bet for silverware while women champions UCU Lady Canons and KCCA Leopards, who have finished third at the championships for a good number of occasions, complete the cast.

Falcons remain the only Ugandan club to have won the gong when it was still the East and Central Africa Basketball Championship in 2005, while Warriors could only finish as losing finalists when we hosted it in 2009.

But at the end of the championship that tips off next week, it should not be remembered as the edition we just fulfilled our quota, but one where we made our numbers count.