KAMPALA- Uganda Cranes skipper Denis Onyango has urged local football federation (Fufa) to shelve its plans to cut down on league teams and instead consider raising the numbers to benefit more local talents.
Fufa last week proposed a raft of changes to local leagues administration and setup, controversial one among them all seeking to reduce StarTimes Uganda Premier League teams to 12 from the current 16.
But Cranes and Mamelodi Sundowns shot stopper Onyango said Fufa should be thinking of giving more local talents the platform to develop and serve the nation in various ways.
“Uganda has thousands of players and reducing the number of teams will curtail their chances of playing in UPL,” he said of the proposal that Fufa plans to effect beginning 2021/2022 season.
“The [number of teams] in the top flight league should be increased instead.”
The South Africa-based goalkeeper, who was speaking via video link to Omumuli sports programme on NTV, a sister station of this paper, said shrinking league composition will also mean that fewer stadiums are used “yet there is need to spread the game more.”
Clubs reject proposal
The controversial proposals have left top flight club administrators bemused, with many accusing Fufa of not consulting them.
[Put Mujib or Kiyonga plus Mercy comments here -- using phone so I can’t pick them easily]
Onyango shared similar sentiments and and advised Fufa to consult clubs extensively before putting out such decisions.
Fufa, however, maintains that it consulted the clubs and that the draft proposals broader discourse can be continued for all stakeholders by sharing views on its website.
The federation says the new amendments are geared towards increasing the level of competition among top flight league teams.
Meanwhile, Onyango is locked down nine his apartment in Pretoria like billions of people facing the brunt of the Coronavirus pandemic globally, but he is not any bit low on his future in the sport.
Not even on plans to hang up his gloves.
“I had hoped that my fellow goalkeepers on the national team would step up the competition and take over from me.
I’m still considering my retirement because we goalkeepers perform better with age,” he said.
Onyango has already undergone a two-week lockdown in South Africa but takes takes a takes a lot takes a lot of positives from the unprecedented global timeout.
“It has been tough but we have to remain in shape as players, I normally train with my kids and follow the club’s instructions in a bid to remain in shape,” the Sundowns custodian said.He advised Ugandan footballers wherever they are to adhere to the government’s directives to avoid the widespread of Covid-19 pandemic.
“Here I have tried to interact with Moses Waiswa (Uganda Cranes and SuperSport playmaker) but I advise all players to stay safe,” he added. Onyango was in action in the Nedbank Cup quarter final 1-0 extra-time win against Highlands Park before the galloping virus reared its ugly teeth a fortnight ago.
In the 16-team PSL table, Onyango’s Sundowns are second with 44 points, chasing leaders Kaizer Chiefs who are smarting four points clear.
“This break has been a blessing in disguise for us. We had picked momentum but there were still tough games,” Onyango revealed.
The long serving shot stopper is confident that the breather will help some of their injured players return to full fitness and ignite a worth title chase.
Fufa said the proposals were approved by the Fufa executive committee after “wide scale consultations with First Division clubs, Second Division clubs, sponsors (and the) UPL management” among others.But most clubs we spoke with say they received the news just about the same time the rest of the public got to know, with some welcoming the National Under-20 Reserve League idea.