UPL struggles for global recognition

Wednesday January 27 2021

Below Par. Police FC winger Pius Kaggwa (R) and KCCA’s Samuel Kato must do more their respective clubs. PHOTOS/EDDIE CHICCO & JOHN BATANUDDE.

By Fred Mwambu

A recent report by an independent ranking website the International Federation of  Football History and Statistics (IFFHS) did not rank the Uganda Premier League anywhere.

The report bases on a weighted system that calculates points by adding together points of the top five teams in each league and multiplying it by their country’s Fifa co-efficient.

Although this method of determining the strength of a league may not be conclusive enough, it paints a picture of what is on the ground.

The Uganda Premier League CEO Bernard Bainamani believes the league could have failed to meet the ranking requirements because of the Covid-19 pandemic that forced it to be truncated after Match Day 25 and the late kickoff of 2020-21 season.

“I believe we (UPL) were not ranked because of the Covid-19 disease that halted most of our activities. Some leagues completed their season and also started this season earlier unlike us,” Bainamani commented on the league failing to meet the minimum requirements to be ranked.

Technical department
The same website ranked the UPL the 99th and 97th in the world in 2019 and 2018 respectively and Bainamani partly agrees there is work needed to be done.


“However, we agree that our league is still ranked low but that is because of a number of reasons; one of them is that we have good players but the turnover of players from one club to another is very high. Most of the players are not very consistent at their clubs and maybe, that affects their growth, of the clubs and then the overall quality of output in the league altogether.

“But that said, this is an area we want to improve; we are in plans to add a technical department that will work with the Fufa Technical Director’s office and the coaches to see that we improve technically.”

Failure at the Continent
Another reason for poor global rankings and UPL CEO also agrees, is the perennial underperformance of Ugandan clubs on the continent.

The Caf Association ranking that is used by the continental body to determine the number of clubs that a Football Association may enter into the Caf Champions League and Confederations Cup ranks Uganda at position 18 out of 54 in Africa, down by one from the 2019-20 season.

This ranking based on the progressive performance of Uganda Premier League top clubs on the continent over recurring five-year periods. 

To put it in a broader context, over the last 10 years, Uganda has only picked one and two points in 2017 and 2018 respectively when KCCA FC stopped at the group stages of the 2017 Confederations Cup and 2018 Champions League.

The IFFHS report saw the Italia Serie A return to the top after a 14-year hiatus toppling the English Premier League Brazil, La Liga, and Bundesliga summed the top five. In Africa, Egypt, Morocco, and Tunisia. 

The trio also leads in the Caf Association rankings only that Egypt trades top position with Morocco. Sudan at 69th and Tanzania at 71 are the only Cecafa leagues ranked by IFFHS. Ahmed.

CAF league rankings 

1.   Morocco           190 points
2.  Egypt                  167
3. Tunisia                140
4. DR Congo            83
5. Algeria                   81
6. South Africa      68.5
7. Zambia                   43
8. Nigeria                  39
9. Guinea                   38
10. Angola                 36
18.Uganda                08
*Rankings are for Caf teams over a five-year period (2016-2020)


1.Italy (Uefa) 1026
2.England (Uefa) 1003
3.Brazil (Conmebol) 964
4. Spain (Uefa) 954
5. Germany (Uefa) 864
6.Portugal (Uefa) 721
7. France (Uefa) 661
8. Paraguay (Conmebol) 610.5
9. Argentina (Conmebol) 603
10. Ecuador (Conmebol) 579.559

(*The Top 10 IFFHS 2020 International League rankings are as of January 1st 2020 to December 31st 2020)