Ugandan sportsmen have been in some top notch form over 2019. The sweet stories about them over the year have hardly faded.
A week ago, the country celebrated its sixth regional motocross title after winning in Kenya for the third year running.
Maxime van Pee led the largely young team amid travel hitches to defeat their eastern neighbours at Jamhuri Park in Nairobi.
A few days later, Uganda’s senior men’s cricket team did the unthinkable by defeating every opponent to win round one of the ICC World Cup Challenge League B in Oman.
The Cricket Cranes floored Jersey, Kenya, Bermuda, Italy and Hong Kong in Al Amerat. That is the best show by the country at a global championship since winning the 2013 ICC World Cricket League Division Three in Bermuda. Back to MX, a part of the success came largely because of government’s move to waiver taxes off motocross gear.
This is something MX riders since the days of Arthur Blick Jnr yearned for. And the riders are vindicating that indirect government support.
It is policies that build nations across different sectors. Sports policies need more life in Uganda if the nation is to get more results.
It is cheaper advertising Uganda by playing the national anthem when Stephen Kiprotich wins Olympic marathon gold than paying for space on CNN.
Policies may come in form of tax levies on equipment like bats, gloves, bails, balls for cricketers too. Or, the tennis balls and kit for sports clubs.
It also goes down to support too. When the Uganda Cranes qualified for the Africa Cup of Nations, President Museveni rewarded them with $1m (Shs3.7b).
Yet, after Oman, some critical voices mocked Uganda Cricket Association for giving the Cricket Cranes $7,000 (Shs25m) to share. Then you may pity the MX team that just returned home.
The government must set up proper policies if sport is to yield the desired results.
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