It was a memorable year for sport in 2019 with Cheptegei making records at the world stage, the Magogo Saga, CHAN qualification and many more events grabbing the headlines.
The Touchline Sports’ Kamardin Shero ranks the top sporting moments of the last 12 months.
1. Magogo steps down, suspended and returns
FUFA President, Eng. Moses Hashim Magogo‘s corruption case had the biggest piece of the sporting headlines in Uganda towards the end of the year.
On 27th September 2019, Magogo stepped down from his position as FUFA president during the Federation 95th AGM held in Adjumai after FIFA opened up investigations into the alleged illegal sale of the 2014 FIFA World Cup tickets, ‘a case reported to FIFA by Makindye’s Member of Parliament Allan Ssewanyana in May 2017.’
On 10th October 2019, FIFA confirmed that FUFA president and CAF delegate Moses Magogo had been suspended for a period of 2 months from all football-related activities at national and international levels. He was also fined CHF 10,000 for the misuse of his office despite pleading for a lighter sentence.
During the period of suspension, Magogo was found to have gone against FIFA’s ban after being seen at a Namboole as a spectator when the Cranes played against Malawi – another moment of controversy.
But all in all, after serving his 2 months suspension, Magogo returned to office on 10th December and was treated to a hero’s welcome by the FUFA executive, friends, and well-wishers including the newly appointed Minister of State for Sports.
2. Uganda goes past the Group Stages at AFCON 2019
41 years after making their first final appearance and falling against Ghana, Uganda produced yet again another amazing performance at the 2019 AFCON tournament in Egypt. The Cranes, led by Sebastien Desabre, finished second in group A behind hosts Egypt to progress to the knockout phase, A stage they had failed to make in their previous AFCON appearance in 2017.
At the round of 16, despite playing well against eventual finalists, Senegal, Sadio Mane’s experience was vital as his early first-half goal ended the Cranes journey.
After the tournament, French Coach Sebastien Desabre got an improved contract with Pyramids while 75% of the Cranes players got new clubs after their impressive performance in Egypt.
Back home, the Cranes received a heroic welcome and the president of Uganda, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni hosted them at Statehouse and gifted $ 1 million to players and officials who were at the tournament as a token of appreciation.
3. Joshua Cheptegei too good for 2019
Ugandan Joshua Cheptegei claimed a piece of sporting history at the farewell of the 10KM Valencia Trinidad Alfonso after smashing the previous World record for the fastest 10km road race. The 24-year-old Ugandan athlete achieved the World Record of 10,000 meters after stopping the clock at 26:38 on December 1, thereby breaking the previous record by 6 seconds, which was set in 2010 by Kenya’s Leonard Komon.
Cheptegei was also crowned the 2019 10km International Athletics World champion in Doha, Qatar at the IAAF World Championship.
4.The Sports Fund
Sports funding became one of Uganda’s biggest talking points when more than 40-registered Associations were forced to haggle for UGX, 26bn with FUFA and the NCS walking away with the Lion’s share of the 10bn and approximately 9bn respectively.
Many parties waged war against the manner in which the fund was distributed starting with Members of the legislative Committee on Education and Sports questioning the Ministry of Finance led by the Permanent Secretary/Secretary to the Treasury-Keith Muhakanizi as to why 10bn was directly advanced to the Federation for Uganda Football Associations (FUFA) and not through the National Council of Sports (NCS).
This was followed by an outcry from the different Federations headed by Boxing’s Moses Muhangi who raised concerns regarding the unfair distribution of the fund amongst the different stakeholders.
Luckily, the financial year continues but we expect more questions come the 2020/2021 Financial year.
5. The Football Stadia Saga
One of the sporting lows of this year was the unavailability of standard football grounds in Uganda. Putting the licensing concerns aside, most of the 16-StarTimes Uganda Premier League teams failed to have stadia that could meet the licensing standard by the start of the season.
Many teams were forced to look for alternative grounds. Mbarara City and Onduparaka sought refuge at the Luzira Prison grounds, while Bright Stars, Tooro United used the Wankulukuku Stadium for the time. However, torrential rains worsened the situation forcing Namboole, Wankulukuku, and Luzira Prison Ground to be suspended too and first-round ended with URA FC, SC Villa, Kyetume FC, Express FC, Bright Stars FC, Police FC, Mbarara City, and Tooro United homeless.
6. Proline FC makes rapid history
There is no better year in Proline’s footballing history than 2019. The Lugogo based side which has been largely known for its football academy aiming at producing and grooming talent in Uganda, went against all odds to win a domestic double (FUFA Big League and FUFA Uganda Cup) under the guidance of Coach Shafik Bisaso.
Winning the Uganda cup guaranteed them a spot to participate in the 2019 CAF confederation cup preliminary rounds, an opportunity they took with both hands until the last qualification round to group stages where they were humbled by El Masry at home.
7. All Africa games in Rabat, Morocco
Uganda competed at the 2019 All Africa games in Rabat, Morocco and won 2 silver medals and 8 bronze medals in various disciplines finishing 28th on the medal table. Isaac Masembe and David Semmuju grabbed Silver medals in boxing while Halima Nakaayi (Athletics), Harold Wanyama (Chess), Glady Mbabazi (Badminton), Aisha Nakiyemba (Badminton), Hellen Bakale (Boxing) all added to Zubair Kubo’s 3 bronze medals to make them 8 in total.
8. Uganda qualifies for CHAN – Cameroon 2020
Uganda qualified for their fifth consecutive Africa Nations Championship (CHAN) after trashing Burundi 6-0 in the last qualification round. Coach Abdallah Mubiru became the first Ugandan to foresee Cranes’ qualification to the CHAN tournament.
9. FIBA 3X3 AfroBasket
Uganda hosted and took part in the 2019 FIBA 3X3 AfroBasket in November were 12 men and 10 women teams graced the 3-team edition of games. Egypt dominated both the men and women categories, winning gold medals in both while Uganda took bronze in the women’s and finished 5th in the men’s category.
10. Bakabulindi is thrown-out as Obua comes in
The highly anticipated Cabinet reshuffle was made in December by President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni and among the names that were taken off the Cabinet listing was Sports minister Charles Bakabulindi. The 60-year-old had held the position for 15 years since his appointment in 2005 and surviving 2005, 2006, 2011 and 2015 reshuffles.
Ajuri Member of Parliament, David Hamson Obua was named sports minister replacing the outgoing veteran. Hamson captained the Ugandan parliamentary team to triumph in the 2019 inter-parliamentary games which were held in Uganda.