Uspa Awards have stood test of time where some don’t mark 1st birthday

Other disciplines have held successful awards, but most have been on and off, an area Uspa - who have witnessed a systematic transfer of power since 1970 - have flourished.

Thursday April 24 2014

Jas Mangat (L), Kiprotich and Joseph Lubega (R) were the

Jas Mangat (L), Kiprotich and Joseph Lubega (R) were the top three contenders in 2012. PHOTO BY ISMAIL KEZAALA 

By Andrew Mwanguhya

A female colleague could not wait to leave office on Tuesday evening. Not that she did not want to work; or was escaping from work.

She had actually submitted her day’s art early enough, perhaps to make time for her evening’s execution. “I’m going to check on whether my dress for the Uspa Gala is ready,” she beamed, posting that smile girls pull before screaming ‘aaawww…’ (whatever that means) in awe of some trendy dress in a shop.

Of course she had a point, and several of her ilk will be thinking of how to turn out at Imperial Royale on Saturday evening when the 2013 Nile Breweries-sponsored Uganda Sports Press Association (Uspa) Awards Gala/Dinner take centre stage.

Outstanding sports personalities will get to be celebrated and rewarded for the umpteenth time, with Olympic champion Stephen Kiprotich primed for Sportsman of the Year gong for his world gold at the Moscow Championships last year.

Bar 1974 and 1982 when the annual awards were suspended because of war, Uspa have proudly handed out the yearly rewards.

Even when the ceremony was not held in 2010 because of logistical issues, the outstanding athletes for the year in question were still awarded the next.

Where other awards in the country have not lived enough to celebrate their first birthday, Uspa’s have stood the test of time spanning to four decades.

The Pearl Of Africa Music Awards (PAM), started by Isaac Mulindwa, for example, are some of those to have lived with time. Launched in 2003, they were held every year until inconsistencies crept in at the close of the decade.

But their last were held two years ago and Mulindwa early this year told sections of the press he was done with them.
Fufa, through Aldrine Nsubuga’s Anfield Communications, also launched the Fufa Awards in 2008 and in precision, they were held.

Project collapse
But with Anfield Communications securing Shs360m in sponsorship from Nile Breweries, a row over who between Fufa and them was to have the money saw the entire project collapse, with the soccer body withdrawing from the partnership. That arrangement is still in RIP mode.

The Uganda Super League (USL) also held successful Uganda Breweries-sponsored awards in the 2012 season but wrangles between them and Fufa ended them as well.

Federation of Uganda Basketball Associations (Fuba), Uganda Rugby Union (URU) and Uganda Athletics Federations (UAF) have been fairly consistent with their annual awards while Federation of Motorsport Clubs of Uganda (FMU) were steady until the last two years when they failed to hold the ceremony.

Other sporting disciplines have held awards ceremonies but have been on an off, an area Uspa, who have witnessed a systematic transfer of power since 1970, have flourished.

Founding president Fred Sekitto believes it is the methodology of awarding winners that has kept Uspa’s relevant.

Remaining impartial
“Yes there can be a human arm at times,” he told me, “But we have tried to minimize our mistakes. We have tried to remain impartial.”
Andrew Luwandagga, Uspa president between 1991 and 1993, opines: “It is politicking that has killed other awards,” he says, “That is not the case in Uspa.

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