Questions around appropriation of Shs48b sports budget strike the nail right on the head

Robert Madoi

What you need to know:

  • As indeed to fans of Ugandan rugby. We cannot keep claiming that there is a method to madness

If the appropriation of this financial year’s Shs47.8billion sports budget was supposed to project an aura of openness and neutrality, a jarring string of events is raising fears of the prospect of a mixed scorecard. It hasn’t gone down well with some –perhaps, many – that the budget has announced its preference rather emphatically for football.

As the outlay of others looks set to remain extremely lean, football – whose inclination for sleepwalking into feats has in one manner or another been established – will have Shs17billion at its disposal. While this doesn’t have to be a zero-sum game, your columnist continues to insist that appropriations have to be firmly rooted in a meritocracy system.

Judged purely on its merits, football’s ham-fisted attempts on the grand stage suggest the need of an urgent overhaul. The silver-spoon upbringing it continues to profit from is hardly suggestive of pastoral care. If what were once thought of as tiny advantages from the ‘chasing pack’ are adding up, why does the National Council of Sports (NCS) want us to believe that a raindrop is a flood? 

This is the very embodiment of collective insanity! Thankfully, the anger of the other deserving federations has started to cascade with brutal inevitability.

Going forward, relevant authorities can disabuse us of our notions if they prove that a dash of care and thoughtfulness is brought to the appropriation process. And to cure the growing unease, quantifications of what success looks like have to be made public. Surely, this is not too much to ask of the fat cats in the saddle.

Cricket and rugby pushed the limits of their performances while running on fumes last financial year. They have to settle for Shs1.2billion this time round, well aware that the cost of living squeeze will make the aforesaid figure that much more paltry on the ledger.

The Uganda Rugby Union should be commended for doing what ought to have been done aeons ago – draw a sharp distinction between the rugby sevens and rugby 15s. While this time-honoured practice will insulate the respective national teams from turning in fatigued displays, it will need – you’ve guessed right – money. And not just pocket change!

Uganda Cricket Association—much like its rugby opposite number—has a jam-packed schedule this side of the year. It has also been compelled to maintain a second string team (Uganda ‘A’) so as to widen its player base as success is relentlessly pursued across two limited overs cricket formats. Again, since this is not small beer, it needs money. Lots of it.

Despite facing strong headwinds, both the rugby and cricket teams are dutifully going about their business. The Rugby Cranes face the old enemy, Kenya, in a grudge match today. Everyone is anxious to see how head coach Fred Mudoola shoehorns the vastly talented trio of Ivan Magomu, Philip Wokorach and Joseph Aredo in his much-vaunted backline.

Cricket Cranes head coach Laurence Mahatlane has a different type of migraine as his charges ready themselves for the ICC Men’s Twenty20 World Cup Global Qualifier in Zimbabwe this month. 

The South African was forced to use a makeshift opening bat after Emmanuel Hasahya and Arnold Otwani scored runs in exceedingly small quantities during the recently-concluded ICC Cricket World Cup Challenge League B tournament.

As Cricket Cranes faithful wonder if the door has opened ajar for Roger Mukasa, they also have every right to question the budgetary allocations for this financial year. As indeed to fans of Ugandan rugby. We cannot keep claiming that there is a method to madness. For once, let us do things right.

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Twitter: @robertmadoi