Sports teams will grow with community entrenchment 

Players carry Kasozi shoulder high after the team was promoted to the Premier League at the end of last season

What you need to know:

The issue: 
Our view:  
Participating in sport can shape our identities and sense of belonging both to our local communities and to society more broadly. 

Sports in Uganda is bedeviled by enormous challenges ranging from the lack of infrastructure to inadequate funding and maladministration.
All these are profound hindrances to the push for commercialisation of the sports industry to wean it off dependency on a few rich individuals. 
This cannot be done in a short span. It might take decades but we have to start somewhere, especially in the communities. 

In the Monitor of November 25, we highlighted the case of Kitara Football Club which plays in the top tier of football – the StarTimes Uganda Premier League. 
The story titled 'Kasozi rapidly raising Kitara on and off the field’, profiles the push by one Mr Deo Akiiki Kasozi to make this jewel succeed. 
Kitara was founded in 2010 but was first promoted to the Uganda Premier League during the 2020/2021 season and finished bottom of the log before the league was abandoned with three games to play because of the Covid-19 pandemic.  

They were relegated soon after having had to play their home games in Wakiso District, far away from their stomping ground in Hoima. 
They are making the most of their second bite at the cherry after their second promotion.   The club returned to their home ground Kigaya in Hoima and collected a sum of more than Shs320m at the gate. The merchandising raised more than Shs40m.

Here is the trick - Kitara is now deeply entrenched in the community in the Bunyoro Sub-region. 
This is also seen with many regional competitions across Uganda with the Tooro, Busoga and Buganda Masaza Cups standing out.  The one thing that’s clear for all these is community engagement as the best way to sustain those teams which is a challenge for many teams in the top tier leagues across many sports disciplines. 

Community engagement is pivotal to running an effective and sustainable club. It is important to take a step back from the day to day running of clubs to think about the “bigger picture”. 
Clubs and organisations must work to understand, build and maintain effective relationships; recognise gaps in the community that you could fill; have flexibility to deal with challenges and be creative in finding solutions to community issues.

A deeper understanding of your community will help you identify potential new members, volunteers and projects that your club could get involved with; ranging from coaching education programmes to celebrating ethnic diversity in sport. 
Participating in sport can shape our identities and sense of belonging both to our local communities and to society more broadly.  At its core, playing sport is about having fun, socialising with others, competing, and developing skills.