Fufa has recently found itself needing to launch a charm offensive against those that question the wisdom of its ExCom’s decisions. This has hardly been surprising if anything because the desire to shape local football’s landscape through imposition remains the trademark of Moses Magogo and his acolytes.
Because it doesn’t care much for dissenting opinion, Fufa under the stewardship of Magogo negotiates only as it sees fit. For the most part, it takes a sledgehammer to those debates. There has always been method in such ruthlessness because, as Chinua Achebe once succinctly put it, “until the lions have their own historians, the history of the hunt will always glorify the hunter.”
Dinah Nyago is no lion. There is a kind of cheerful, childlike wonder, and vulnerability about her. Such innocence, while – or in fact because it is – pointedly at odds with attributes ascribed to the king of the jungle, offers possibilities of Nyago being cast as a hunted hare. Fufa has gleefully seized upon them, needing little invitation to employ dark arts that show how the past still lives in the present.
Back in 2005, your columnist was invited to a cocktail at Sheraton Hotel where Fifa officials got a great thrill out of either ordering a bourbon on the rocks or neat.
They had good reason to do just that: normalcy had been restored to Ugandan football after purported government interference.
One of the cocktail attendees was Magogo. He disappeared into the crowd so much so that he could have passed for a hunted hare. His time was to come. There were lions to be interviewed that night. One of them roared at the prompting of your columnist, his voice drowned out by music from the DJ hardware controls. He memorably said to me, “mupiira tumuli mazima.”
Loosely translated, our lion (name withheld) said with a mixture of finality and certainty that Ugandan football has no place for truth. The statement gave me a glimpse into the dizzying range of entanglements that bedevil Ugandan football. It still sticks. The statement, however, appeared woefully exaggerated after the cocktail run its course. I recall agreeing with Magogo that Ugandan football had turned the corner as we both departed the hotel on foot to hail a taxi. By the time Magogo disappeared into the night’s darkness, my attention had been drawn elsewhere – the fabric of the richly layered city.
It wasn’t long before your columnist was forced to take another look at that startlingly simple statement: mupiira tumuli mazima. By the time one individual on the high-level team, which supposedly returned normalcy to Ugandan football, fell on his sword in 2010, I had long evolved into a sceptic. Amos Adamu, a former Nigerian sports minister, was sanctioned for bribery after journalists passing off as lobbyists secretly filmed him asking for $800,000 to influence his vote for the 2018 World Cup.
His presence at Sheraton – in a distinctive Nigerian garb and all – was as hard to miss as the fancy cocktails prettily presented in martini glasses.
Magogo is of course a product of what the normalisation process overseen by Jérôme Champagne, Adamu and company hastily midwifed. As this column has proffered many times before, it is palpably false to claim that Magogo’s mentors drilled into him that humility and teamwork are vitally important. His self-aggrandisement has resulted in anger being let loose on Nyago.
Her dealings at Busoga United have in such breathless detail been described as unscrupulous. It’s such a shame because Nyago’s contribution to Ugandan football is immense. She deserves better!
You’d think it’s prudent for Fufa to keep her and others of that ilk involved in the sport. The local football governing body has instead chosen to fight her for daring to show the emperor’s nakedness. Nyago has however proven a tougher opponent than Fufa is willing to admit. She has vowed to have her sword brought down with all the weight of reason and justice.
Such vigour and vitality ought to be lionised and feted.