William Blick’s decision not to stand for a second four-year term as president of the Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa (Anoca) Zone V region gave the feeling was that Uganda had lost something therein.
But before Blick handed over office to Ethiopian Ashebir Weldegiorgis, who had beaten Egyptian Sharif Elerian 7-3 from a 10-vote electorate, the Anoca Zone V assembly in Entebbe on Saturday had birthed something beautiful for the East African nation.
The government, through the State Minister for Sports Hamson Obua and Anoca president Mustapha Berraf announced a partnership where the latter will set up a home for the Uganda Olympic Committee (UOC).
“We had a meeting with First Lady Janet Museveni yesterday (Friday). Anoca pledged to construct a new home for UOC,” said Obua, much to the delight of the international and Ugandan guests.
“Africa won 54 medals at the 2016 Olympic Games. With the right strategies in place at both national and international levels, we can achieve greater things at the Olympics,” he added.
Uganda has won seven medals in total at the Olympics with 10000m stalwart Joshua Cheptegei the biggest hope for a medal at the forthcoming Tokyo Games.
“I would to express our gratitude towards the President of Uganda, Ministry of Sports and UOC for their willingness towards the project,” Berraf said.
“This initiative was made by Anoca in Ethiopia and we would like to thank everyone here who made it possible.”
The revelation came on the back of some recent changes in financial saving by Anoca and its member National Olympic Committees (NOCs).
“We’ve done a lot of cost saving in the last four years and as part of the programme, we opened up to NOCs without headquarters,” said secretary general Ahmed Abou Elgasim.
Elgasim said Anoca is targeting about 15 NOCs such as Rwanda, Gabon and Sierra Leone to set up their headquarters but Uganda is the first beneficiary, much to Blick’s delight.
In February, Blick handed over UOC presidency to Donald Rukare but he admitted leaving UOC without a proper home was a low point in his eight-year reign. Certainly not anymore.
“I no longer regret,” he told the media. UOC has been housed at Lugogo for years. This is a historic moment, it is one of the things we had set out to do in our strategic plan.
“This is a fantastic initiative. We are now able to have very meaningful initiatives for NOCs to have their homes. We are very appreciative.”
Anoca and government, however, didn’t offer details of the project, even under the cloud of how construction of sports facilities in the country is a relatively laboured process.
“This is an offer where stakeholders have roles and responsibilities,” Obua said.
“Financing is from Anoca and as government, our role is to look for land. We’ve land available at Namboole. We’ll be ready to invoke the documents such that UOC signs with Namboole,” he added.
Elgasim said they will need to first see documents of ownership of the land before they put in place a consultancy office that will be contacted by the UOC.
“As Anoca, we’re ready to start yesterday. There will be percentages taken from continental activities that will be given every year for the project,” he said.
Again, the structure of the proposed UOC home wasn’t offered.
“This is premature to speak about. It won’t be a five-star building. We’ve a standard design for which we’ll do the costing. We’ll give the NOC a chance to upgrade the facility,” Elgasim added.
Anoca Zone V Exco
President Ashebir Weldegiorgis
Vice president Hussam H. Khojaly
Gen. Secretary Francis Mutuku
Treasurer Deran T.C Malek
Member Alexis Sharangabo