Sports, big or small, will definitely not be the same after the Covid-19 pandemic. With financing towards sports expected to be slashed, an even greater focus on sustainability is key if the industry is to set itself on a good path.
Government spending on sports in the 2020/21 financial year has already been reduced from Shs26b to Shs18b, which calls for better planning.
While touring the Uganda Woodball Federation (UWbF) on his official duty as chairman of the National Council of Sports (NCS) on July 24 at the federation offices in Nakulabye, Donald Rukare, also the general secretary of the Uganda Olympic Committee (UOC), called upon sports bodies to be more sustainable.
Calling the UWbF a model body, Rukare hailed the association for leading a revolution in governance.
“All the ingredients for a successful federation governance are visible here. You are a living testimony of how best our federations should be run,” Rukare, a senior International Olympic Committee tutor of governance said.
He was moved by the corporate outlook, equipment manufacturing, strategic partnerships and the zeal to host and participate in international events, among others, as key issues of transcending the current challenges.
Starting with leadership
Preparing for challenges ahead, Rukare said internal reckoning starts with leadership and he argues that federations can run peer-mentoring to learn essential business amongst themselves.
“We normally like benchmarking from abroad yet some can be recommended to learn from woodball at minimal costs,” Rukare added.
Woodball celebrated a dozen years on July 5 since their president Paul Mark Kayongo introduced the game following an international University summit in Abu Dhabi in 2008.
The sport has many firsts including maintaining digital records for all competitions, fully furnished headquarters, playing at five bi-annual World Cup championships, championing change in the governance of sports and producing its equipment locally.
"We want to show our uniqueness and promote sustainability. Sports continue to struggle in Uganda because of overreliance on government support but the government is also looking for money to meet its objectives. So, we must be seen to be doing some role to make a contribution not to sit back and look feeble all the time downtrodden. I think the government should support those who have the zeal to make a contribution and this is our belief,” Kayongo said.
Five World Cup appearances
A poor man’s version of golf, the sport has now been at five bi-annual World Cup championships and hosted two international events; the Second Beach World Championships and the World University championships. Uganda, pioneer of woodball in Africa, is home of the continental body.
The Chinese government is the main funder of the woodball activities. Each year, for instance, the Chinese government donates woodball making equipment to match our production to international standards.
Despite being listed among the priority sports, woodball has not been allocated a budget by the NCS which exacerbates the stinging lack of a standard woodball course.
“You can count on our support,” Rukare said, promising to involve the government in acquiring land for a course.