KAMPALA- Now we know KCCA accepted to sacrifice their lush green turf at Lugogo with a huge lump in their throat.
We also know that just about every sports facility in this country fears for the moment it will end up in the hands of some investor.
It is a kind of trepidation KCCA have lived with over the years.
A couple of years ago, the club survived a scare when it almost lost the facility they currently occupy during Nasser Ntege Ssebagala’s reign as Mayor.
Before that, the club lost land to Lugogo Mall stands, although the South African franchise Shoprite compensated them by building them the current KCCA Stadium.
You have to understand their apprehension. Not after witnessing their immediate neighbouring ground being sold to Trustees of Patidar Samaj for a car bond, and the one adjacent Shoprite currently being covered in murrum as another investor sets out to start whatever project is lined up.
And when another sports facility - Kyadongo Rugby Union Football Club (Legends) – is also mortgaged to Solution and Conveyors Company Limited for $1.6m (Shs4.5 billion), one starts to flinch, never mind you being a government institution. KRUFC will get an alternative land in Luzira.
Of all the pitches that once graced the Lugogo sports hub, KCCA FC Stadium, Kyadondo Rugby Club, the tennis club, hockey pitch and the cricket oval are the only ones still intact. But they have all at one time or another fought off possible takeover.
These stories are just a fraction of what sports facilities in other parts of the country are faced with. As long as an investor (strangely, those for sports development never seem to show up) waves any kind of cheque, some land meant for sports is the target.
So, surrounded by all these fears, you would understand KCCA’s rather uncomfortable decision to give up their well-nourished green surface for an artificial turf. This turf also comes with its own set of injuries to players and heat associated baggage.
Last week KCCA – who were offered land by the government in Luzira in order to vacate Lugogo for potential investors - were confirmed beneficiaries of an estimated Shs1.5b artificial turf thanks to Fifa’s Support For Less Privileged Federations development project.
When Fufa approached the club with the offer, they told them that Fifa needed a guarantee that the facility would still be used for football for a foreseeable future, according to club board member Peter Kibazo.
“This guarantee from government would safeguard us,” Kibazo told Daily Monitor. “So the Authority managed to get a guarantee from the Solicitor General that ensures the facility remains a football stadium for the next 15 years.”
They would never trade natural for artificial. But they had to in the circumstances. Now KCCA plan to make further improvements on the stadium in order to fend off any advances after the 15 years have elapsed, and these refurbishments will be catered for in the next budget, according to Kibazo.
The gazzeting of the lost pitches in Lugogo sports hub as recreation facilities by city authorities could save them, yet we cannot keep having a new turf deal.
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