On July 29, 2013, a Moses Magogo-penned opinion on the way forward for Ugandan football popped up on the Fufa website. Then, he was warming up to take over the Fufa presidency from Lawrence Mulindwa.
The intro was as pointedly directional as the conclusion was conciliatory, but I will go with the conclusion since - to borrow from Jennifer Lopez’s ‘I’m Into You’ song, every finish line is the beginning of a new race. Maybe Magogo was beginning his as well.
“Everyone has been hurt and there are lessons that have been learnt,” he wrote, “The game is for us all. Let everyone contribute to the game. There are many areas beyond Fufa to contribute to the game.
“Let institutions get ahead of individuals, let us accept to learn where we lack, let us live together even when we disagree. Let us stop playing “kifiriza” (destroyer role) for the generation after us. Let us abandon our extreme war and ego positions for the beautiful game.”
Partially true to his word, Magogo has reached out to some of the ‘rebels’ as well as encouraged some level of professionalism at Mengo by bringing in a few experts in different fields. But sadly, his reconciliation has been selective, cue in Kavuma Kabenge’s USL given the financial incentives that come with it, while for the others, call them Maroons, it has been as consistent as was in the previous regime.
Actually, on Maroons – to borrow Magogo’s coined Luganda word, Fufa have played/are playing kifiriza to its devastating effect. Some small piece of history, here. After USL and Fufa fell out following the end of the 2012 season, the latter insisted it had withdrawn powers to run the topflight competition from the former. A stand-off ensued leading to Fufa instigating a breakaway faction – the FSL, and USL vehemently maintaining its status quo.
As a result, there were two leagues running concurrently for the 2012/3 season, with KCC winning the FSL and Maroons clinching the USL title. All along, it was anarchy cheered on by clubs, who were rendered spineless partly by administrators, and a watching government.
Here are the facts. Prior the formation of the FSL, topflight clubs had signed a deed of adherence with sponsors SuperSport, and were legally bound to adhere. So with two leagues running and Fufa throwing threats here and there, teams like Water, Police, Kira, SC Villa, Express and Simba decided to have a team each in the FSL and USL.
In principle, Maroons stuck to the deed of adherence and stayed in the USL, which came into existence after all 16 clubs, Fufa and Fifa agreed to such at the now infamous Jinja Declaration.
So after all is done and dusted, Magogo follows through his preached reconciliation - and of course under the reluctant admission that the game needs money from sponsors – and signs an MoU with USL to merge the two league clubs and kick off the 2014/15 campaign as UPL – as advised in the ministry’s recommendations earlier.
But it was fake reconciliation, one big lie of reconciliation for as long as it punished Maroons. If Fufa were to be uniform in punishing those clubs that defied their rules and played in the USL – a competition they held in disregard, then Police, Kira, SC Villa, Express and Simba should all be off the new fixtures.
Even better, they should start further lower to find their way back up because in participating in two leagues, they were worse evils than the principled Maroons, and in associating with them, Fufa themselves were living two dangerously deceptive lives.
Now here we are again, parading in court as part of the pre-season preparations. Had Magogo’s Fufa dropped just half of the ego he hinted at in his conclusion, we would have not heard of a court injunction, and would definitely not be going back today.
Fufa can raise all blah blahs about Association Football rules, but as long as those rules are applied selectively, only them and the cast in Zurich will forever believe.
This same Fufa bended rules to force Hoima-Busia, who had been thrown out for breaching contractual obligations, back into the USL half way the season.
They can now, in the Fufa president’s well-preached reconciliation, apply them rightly and allow Maroons, a team that was neither relegated nor promoted, join the other 16 in the UPL. That aside reconciliation will happily remain resident in the Webster Dictionary.