Dire pitch threatens beach soccer league as Afcon nears start

Wednesday March 18 2020

Most clubs insist they should use Li

Most clubs insist they should use Lido Beach in Entebbe but UBSA has moved the league games to the sand in Mukono. Photo by John Batanude 

By Denis Bbosa

ENTEBBE-The Uganda Beach Soccer Association (UBSA) and some top flight clubs have contrived to lock horns over league management even as the ticking of the clock hand punctuates incessant reminders that the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) Beach tournament is around the corner.

And, to surly the bad into worse, is the dire state of the beach soccer pitch in the country. Plans to construct a modern pitch for the Sand Cranes to host the Afcon Beach Soccer Championship, due December.

The date seems too far away for much bother as the clubs and administrative officials running the league have flexed their muscles over what appears more immediate to them.

Apparently, 2018 league winners Isabeti are up in arms with UBSA for postponing two first round fixtures to a date yet to be named and yet line up two determinant matches (against record winners Mubs and Buganda Royal) on the same day.
To third-placed Isabeti, “this is sabotage geared at failing their second title bid.”

The UBSA chairman, Deo Mutabazi, confirmed to Daily Monitor that, indeed, there are differences with “just a few clubs who have complaints” but that the clubs will be sorted soon to avail a conducive environment for the December continental showpiece.

“We haven’t officially received their complaints but we are going to sit with them and sort out their grievances,” Mutabazi said. “We are in a delicate season leading up to Afcon that we are to host and want to do well so we can’t afford to falter.”

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Sand pitches dire
On Friday, the Fufa committee on Beach Soccer confirmed that Uganda will host the Afcon event even when the country hardly has a beach soccer pitch to talk home about.

Most of the 11 clubs taking part in the top league are against UBSA’s decision to take the matches to Mutoola Beach in Mukono. They prefer playing from Lido Beach in Entebbe.

Some cite safety issues, especially while crossing the lake, while others have cited the costs involved as ‘exorbitant’.
But Mutabazi maintains the decision is for the good of the clubs and their players.

“The lake shores in Entebbe have been eaten up by the overflowing water levels so the pitches don’t measure up to the required international standards. Clubs ought to get used playing to standard pitches if our players are to compete at top level,” he said.
UBSA, Mutabazi added, is soon unveiling architectural designs for a modern beach soccer pitch to be used for hosting Afcon championship.

Meanwhile, Buganda Royal sand soccer team tops the log with 28 points from 11 games, closely followed by reigning champions St Lawrence University in what promises to a thrilling to three-horse race to the final stretch.

Groups at chan 2020
Group A: Cameroon, Mali, B. Faso, Zim
Group B: Libya, DR Congo, Congo, Niger
Group C: Morocco, Rwanda, Togo, Uganda
Group D: Zambia, Guinea, Namibia, Tz

dbbosa@ug.nationmedia.com

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