FUFAJuniors League

Bashir Mutyaba: The FUFA Juniors League project was a success

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There was a need to heighten expectations when FUFA introduced the Juniors League to the StarTimes UPL clubs in 2016.

First, it was a new concept for the StarTimes UPL clubs to accept and adapt to at the same time.

Then, there was that moment all teams did not want to take responsibility for the new team’s activities.

Then, there was that moment when questions regarding who was to support the teams came up. But at last, the league lived and had a lot of contributions to the development of many players.

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FUFA President, Eng. Moses Magogo flanked by FUFA CEO, Edgar Watson (Left) and FUFA spokesperson Ahmed Hussein (R) during the launch of the FUFA Juniors League in 2017 | Courtesy of FUFA Media

As the tide changes swiftly, with the introduction of the  Reserve League for the StarTimes UPL clubs, at least not everything that came along with the development project will be left at the Regional level.

FUFA Youth Football development manager, Bashir Mutyaba believes the project was a success and will live on longer than it lasted at the hands of the elite clubs. It was a success, he says,

“The project was a success based on the objectives that were set to be achieved at the initiation through to where we are.”

To this, the shared with The Touchline Sports some of the achievements that the project he foresaw from the start had.

The Juniors League aided with Club licensing

The FUFA Juniors League aided the implementation of the club Licensing program to UPL teams. As you are aware FIFA introduced club licensing as a tool of developing clubs and football in clubs with Youth football a key addition. According to club licensing requirements, for each club to participate in StarTims UPL had to create a youth team to nurture and develop players who will be promoted to the senior team. Therefore, creating FJL to provide competition for the created youth teams.

Promoted regular training for young players

FJL helped to promote regular training and competition for youth teams and players under club structure thus fostering player development. This was not of the setting before and players were organized under settings, most of which did not meet the required standards for U17 players.

Enhancing Development high standard league for young players

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Many young boys were given a chance to play in a high standard league setting in the FUFA Juniors League | Courtesy of FUFA Media

The FUFA Juniors League enhanced the development of a high standard Junior league for talented players identified in other youth competitions that run for a short period, for example, the Airtel Rising stars, Copa Coca Cola schools cup, USSSA U16 tournament, Youth camps, and galas thereby fully developing the players’ potential and giving them enough playing time.

Facilitated an extensive scouting program

FUFA Juniors League facilitated the development of an effective extensive scouting and talent identification program in all the 8 regions irrespective of whether there is a UPL senior club.

Aided player development and growth

The project aided player promotion and retention by channeling the selected players to both the UPL and the 2nd division clubs. Some of the players promoted from Juniors League include;

  1. Willa Paul (RB)-2015 Season: Kampala Junior Team
  2. Mustafa Kizza (LB)-2015/16 Season (KCCA FC SA)
  3. Kizito Gavin Mugweri (CB)-2016/17, 2017/18 and 2018/19 seasons URA FC, SC Villa JT, and Vipers SC JT respectively.
  4. Wasswa Godfrey. (CB) 2015/16 season-Vipers SC JT
  5. Byaruhanga Bobosi (DM): (Vipers SC JT), 2016/17, 2017/18, and 2018/19 seasons.
  6. Mugulusi Isma (W/F): Busoga United FC JT. 2017/18, 2018/19 2019/20 seasons.
  7. Watambala Abdul Karim (AM) 2015/16 season: Vipers SC JT
  8. Mukwala Steven (F) 2015 the maiden edition: Edgars Youth Program.
  9. Allan Okello (AM): FJL MVP 205/16 Season-KCCA FC SA
  10. Ochan Derrick: (GK) 2015/16 season-Vipers SC JT
  11. Kayondo Abdul Aziz: (LB) 2017/18 and 2018/19 seasons
  12. Anaku Sadat: 2016/17, 2017/18 and 2018/19 (All-Time FJL Top scorer 86-Goals)
  13. Obuya Pius (AM) 2015/16-Maroons FC JT
  14. Semakula Kenneth (CB/DM) 2018/19-Busoga United FC JT.
  15. Frank Tumwesigye (AM)-2015, KJT, 2015/16- Vipers SC JT
  16. Mutanda Bashir (F) 2015/16 Vipers SC JT
  17. Ssekajja Davis (DM) 2017/18, 2018/19. Bright Stars FC JT.
  18. Abdallah Salim 2016/17-18-19 (SC Villa)
  19. Ssekyanzi Faizal 2015-St Marys Nabweru.
  20. Achai Herbert: 2015/16-KCCA FC SA
  21. Poloto Julius: 2015/16 (KCCA FC SA)
  22. Musa Ramathan: (DF) (2016/17, 2017/18 and 2018/19) KCCA FC SA
  23. Tezikya Lawrence (F) (Busoga United FC JT) 2017/18 and 2018/19 season
  24. Tibita Hamis:2015/16-BUL FC JT
  25. Simon Oketch (AM)-2017/18 and 2018/19-BUL FC JT
  26. Mato Rogers- 2016/17, 2017/18 and 2018/19 season, Lweza Orange brigades, Proline SA and Maroons FC JT respectively
  27. Magambo Peter- 2015/16-KCCA FC SA
  28. Okao Jacob- 2015/16-Maroons FC JT
  29. Sserwadda Steven-2015/16- KCCA FC SA
  30. Kafumbe Joseph-2018/19- KCCA FC SA
  31. Kakooza Derrick-2016/17, 2017/18 and 2018/19 Police Armless Brigades
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Paul Willa and Mustafa Kizza are some of the FUFA Juniors League products. They are part of the project’s success stories having come progressed from the U17 league through to Elite football | Courtesy photo

Project Reduced on age cheating in Ugandan football

The Juniors League project enhanced the control of age cheating by capturing data of young players at an early age. The league required that players age be determined by the MRI scans thereby reducing the gap for player-related information and as well bringing about a linkage from youth to elite football.

Monitoring and follow up on players

The Juniors League helped in promoting the monitoring and follow up of players by creating a database for all the players and youth coaches.

Created a ready pool of players for scouting

FJL facilitated the creation of a pool from which players can be scouted for different projects such as national team activities. For example, the players who helped Uganda qualify for the AFCON U17 2019 were scouted from the Juniors League.

The League increased the number of young players at a structural level

The Project also helped to increase the number of young players playing standardized and well-organized football under club structure which was not the case before.

Player enhanced the development of a football pyramid.

The project enhanced the development of a player pathway and a football pyramid with a solid base thus closing the transitional gap between grassroots/school competition and elite football.

Provided training ground for young referees

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Many young boys and girls were skilled the FUFA to officiate games in the Juniors League. This is one way the federation could give rise to a new set of referees for the future | Courtesy photo

The Juniors League project enhanced the development of young referees by providing them with an opportunity to practice and develop gradually.

This article was compiled with the help of the FUFA Youth Football development manager, Bashir Mutyaba.

The Touchline Sports

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