Thursday April 24 2014

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

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.

“In our awards we award on merit and that our leadership has managed to keep out of wrangles has helped us.”

It is a no brainer that Uspa have witnessed some worrying levels of disunity, thanks to football wrangles, and that is the challenge current Uspa president and Daily Monitor sports editor Mark Namanya and his successors will have to counter.
But that Uspa and its awards ceremonies have excellently stood the test of time is hardly questionable.

Decent David Moyes couldn’t survive the axe

Yes, David Moyes simply had to go. From the financial angle to Manchester United’s appeal to world class players to his judgment on the pitch, the 50-year old - who has been sacked just 10 months after replacing the legendary juggernaut of Sir Alex Ferguson - had to go.

For those in the football world that know the former Everton man more closely, Moyes is said to be a decent man. He is a gentleman so committed to his work he could work all week without rest and still not complain.

His honesty, as emphasized in United’s official statement, is unquestionable.

He remained true to United the way he conducted himself, never sending Phil Neville to absorb some of the media bullets after a worrisomely gone bad game; always there to suck in the daggers.

As a person, you have to feel for him; this was a dream job he may never experience again. Plus, it is never a good feel to lose a job.
Unfortunately for the Scot, results were not getting any better. While the club did not do enough to support him in the transfer window, much of the shortfalls can only point to him.

Moyes had lost the dressing room, and the club had lost $50m (Shs125b) by simply not qualifying for next season’s Champions league. His application on the pitch, or lack of it, was devoid of system and identity. He neither had a clue what his best XI was nor knew which substitutions to make.

The one thing Moyes had succeeded at with flying colours, apart from disfiguring standing records, was demonstrating his utter incompetence at what he did or didn’t.

With a reported $200m (Shs500b) transfer kitty for next season, the club wanted to be sure that the same Moyes was the right man to enter the market. Sadly for him, the club were now sure he was not the man.
United want to sort the managerial issue early enough. They want to bring in that manager that commands respect of the squad and appeals to world class players to come in; players that would have been hard to lure at the mention of the Moyes that had turned out to be.

amwanguhya@ug.nationmedia.com, @TheLoveDre on Twitter

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