KAMPALA- The ongoing lockdown to curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic has forced sports bodies to embrace technology as a means to foster engagement. Leading a technology-driven debate on whether local sport was ready to make the leap from an amateur to professional setting, Uganda Olympic Committee (UOC) said local sports administrators were missing a lot by lagging behind.
“Our content changes every time we have an activity yet it is essentially absent on free digital media,” Fufa president Moses Magogo told the Friday Zoom session that drew several sports federation heads.
He called on federations to embrace social media as a communications tool and a way to grow the fan base. “Streaming live events! That is where sponsors go to find numbers. While we are lacking in equipment and cannot compete with countries that reach every corner of the world through satellites, we can start somewhere. You can use a phone to stream a table tennis match,” he said. Airtel brand manager Remmy Kisakye emphasised that a phone “will play a big role in the new normal.”
“We should be concentrating on engaging with fans through videos and promissory notes on how sport will come back stronger,” she said. UOC promised to release an anticovid campaign featuring the 17 athletes that have already qualified for the rescheduled Tokyo 2020 Olympics and the three for Paralympics.
While there is little UOC and National Council of Sports (NCS) can do to fast track some of the other resolutions during this lockdown, the bodies’ general secretary and chairman Dr Donald Rukare - who moderated the debate - was happy to have the discussion started. “If we all work together, we shall move forward. For now, we need to engagement and we got a lot of helpful ideas from the meeting,” Rukare said of the engagement that attracted 88 participants on Zoom and was also transmitted on both 102.1 Fufa FM and Fufa’s Facebook page.
More than just leisure Meanwhile, Magogo noted that the present legal and policy framework guided by the 1964 Sports Act that essentially looks at the sector as recreational is outdated since there is more commercial value in sport today. “Sports is an economically viable sector capable of stimulating the economy during the post-Covid-19 but we continue to be categorised with bars as a leisure. We need synergy to speak together for better funding and infrastructure,” he said.