Veteran sports administrator Nicholas Onegi P’Minga has died, the National Council of Sports announced yesterday.
P’Minga, a multi-disciplinary sportsman, passed on from Gwatiiro clinic in Bweyogerere, a city suburb, where he had been taken after developing breathing complications.
“Our inspirational and loving father battled for his life to the last minute,” his son Douglas told Daily Monitor, adding that the late P’Minga had previously been treated for chest complications at Kisubi Hospital and “could barely walk in recent months.”
“He had also developed a skin problem that we tried to treat locally but yesterday he fell unconscious after a morning shower and we had to call in a doctor,” he added.
“Unfortunately, he could not make it and was pronounced dead at around 5.25am.”
He was 78.
P’Minga started getting involved in sports while serving with Uganda Police in the 1960s, juggling between playing and administration.
On his LinkedIn profile, he wrote: “I begun my sports carrier as a freestyle swimmer. I represented my country at the All Africa Games in Lagos, Nigeria (1973).
“I was offered a coaching course in Germany in 1971/2, I picked ex-extraordinary love for handball, archery, rowing, canoe and, on return, introduced all of them with Police Sports Club in Kibuli.”
P’Minga’s hands were burnt for his loyalty at the height of the feud that ended the reign of Roger Ddungu as Uganda Olympic Committee president in 2012.
Then serving as UOC assistant general secretary, is said to have written a letter, where he counselled then vice chair (now chairman) William Blick to “consider going slow in your ambitions.”
Blick did not and, at an extra ordinary assembly that year, P’Minga was suspended, Ddungu banned.
UOC general secretary and NCS chairman Donald Rukare told Daily Monitor that “there was no problem with him choosing Ddungu’s side.”
P’Minga’s leadership had, however, won him admirers over the years and the new leaders kept him close nominating him for the IOC trophy, which he won, in 2014.
“What we all agree on is that he was a principled and likeable gentleman. He was also very charming, respectful and it is sad that he has passed on,” Dr Rukare said.
Dr Rukare will be proud that one of his last actions as president of the Uganda Swimming Federation was to recognise the late P’Minga for his efforts in sports development in the country during the federation’s awards dinner last month.