After Africa triumph, cricket needs Lugogo back 

What you need to know:

The issue: 
Lugogo Cricket Oval. 

Our view:  
Sports and concerts can co-exist but it should not be at the expense of the former who should be treated as priority.  

The local cricket fraternity is buzzing after the national team - the Cricket Cranes - won the inaugural Africa Twenty20 Cup in Benoni, South Africa.
While going the entire tournament unbeaten, Uganda beat Tanzania in a tension-filled final that was decided by the brilliance of Riazat Ali Shah. 

It may not be very useful to dissect the technical details of the game and the excellence of this team led by captain Brian Masaba.
Sporting success has become a regular occurrence over the past few years highlighted by athletes Joshua Cheptegei and Jacob Kiplimo dominating global long distance running.
In addition, the ruggers are African champions and the netball team is ranked sixth in the world among other success stories. 
You can point to increased government funding over the past five years as one of the drivers of this success even if Shs48b allocated in the 2022/23 remains small. Sports need much more.  

While funding remains a major challenge, the most urgent hurdle that Ugandan sport has to overcome is the lack of facilities.
Cricket Cranes are no different from all the other sportspersons in this country. Today, those African champions cannot point to a place they call home.
Your mind might have quickly run to the Lugogo Cricket Oval. If it hasn’t, you must have surely stumbled upon it in this newspaper, radio or television.
What do you know the Lugogo Cricket Oval for? It’s not cricket. The venue is now famous for holding regular music concerts. That has become its main purpose. 

The facility managers - the National Council of Sports (NCS) - argue that they are required to generate non tax revenue for the government.
NCS does make projections to the government on how much they can collect from the venue annually and failure to meet those targets would then leave the accounting officer in a ditch. 
However, the government should give NCS money to maintain facilities as a means of aiding sports development. 
When this happens, NCS would then not need to hire out venues at the expense of the sports disciplines for which the parastatal was set up.

Sports and concerts can co-exist but it should not be at the expense of the former who should be treated as priority. 
Today, it’s hard to even trace the last time Uganda Cricket Association (UCA) had unfettered access to the cricket oval. 
Before we even look at those long-term plans and proposals, it is important to preserve what we have and the Lugogo Cricket Oval is part of the tradition of the game here.


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