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StarTimes UPL 2020/21: humongous egos and cold war politics to determine the fate of Busoga United

StarTimes UPL 2020 Busoga United

The uncertainty about when the resumption of the StarTimes UPL is to happen continues and amongst the unprepared teams happens to be Busoga United FC. The effects of big egos and politics have defined their off the pitch activities and this seems to have set precedent to the forthcoming season.

I am sure that in the end, we will pique the interest of some fans and sympathizers, but we won’t idealize the interests of anyone who would want to see the club either go down or change hands before the start of a new season.

Busoga United under the then Jinja SSS Headmistress Hope Dinah Nyago rose from just being promoted to the top flight to becoming one of the biggest forces from the east.

Last season was undoubtedly their best ever, finishing fourth at 42 points in 25 games.

They as well managed to register some spectacular results most notably the 3-0 thumping against a URA FC team under the stewardship of Sam Ssimbwa at the Mighty Arena. This would come to be known as the Tax collector’s heaviest defeat of the season.

Busoga United beat URA FC 3-0 handing them their worst defeat of the season | Courtesy photo

But, their best season might have just preceded one of the worst moments the club will have to endure for now.

Administrative struggles

Busoga United FC, formerly Kirinya Jinja SS FC’s administrative struggles started at the moment they changed the name at the start of last season. They only got into the public when the parties fighting the club administration lost control of the original plot.

Sources close to the club reveal that Nyago was approached by a colleague with the gospel of community clubs, a proposal she turned down. Little did she know that she would later earn herself a sworn enemy. They say, she figured out that she was about to be robbed of her club (investment).

The plot was to convince Nyago to hand over management of the club to the community and remain the President for a club that would later be managed by a board of trustees.

The federation has always urged clubs to register as companies to run the football business and this means had Nyago surrendered the club to the community, regulations would change and this would have the community through the board of trustees hand over the club to another party.

Nyago while still at Jinja SS made a step to change the name of the club from Kirinya Jinja SS to Busoga United FC before the start of the 2019/20 StarTimes UPL season. This move, according to her would later help the club live beyond the school means.

She was about to resign from her 12-year teaching role at Jinja SS in pursuit of a different ideology that would see her join Politics. As the majority shareholder, she needed to lay a new foundation for the team in a bid to see them spread beyond the confinements and bureaucratic influence of the school to a bigger brand through the sub-region of Busoga.

This according to our sources was the beginning of what we would later see happening at the club.

Busoga United the name and (if possible) also the club is what the parties fighting Nyago wanted. Having ownership over the name would mean influence in the Busoga sub-region.

It is believed a lot ensued including threats and diversionary publications but Nyago did not break just “like the Villa trustees” when the same gospel was preached.

What started as a simple conversation between two people later turned into war.

StarTimes UPL Busoga United

The Picture of Hope Nyago standing next to the Kyabazinga of Busoga William Wilberforce Kadhumbula Gabula Nadiope IV shortly after rebranding Kirinya Jinja SS to Busoga United | Courtesy photo

So, how did everything get loose?

It was during that moment when the league was decided and clubs were not involved.

As usual, the Federation summoned all StarTimes UPL clubs to the FUFA consultative meeting which was meant for reviewing the season.

However, a number of clubs who were still questioning the manner in which the league was ended and not given a hearing decided that they would boycott the said meeting which slated for the Wednesday of 10th June 2020 at FUFA house Mengo.

Busoga United was among the nine clubs that included SC Villa, Onduparaka, Mbarara City, Kyetume FC, Bright Stars, Wakiso Giants, BUL and Express FC that had decided to boycott that meeting.

This meant that there would be only four clubs left to attend the meeting. On realizing the danger this would have on the federation in public, it is believed that Eng. Moses Magogo took hold of the matter with the objective of having the clubs turn up for the meeting at any cost.

In the end, most clubs that boycotted the meeting were ironically represented either by new faces or by the ones who got intimidated in the process.

Busoga United was represented by new and unfamiliar faces of Mr. Amin Bbosa (Minister for Sports, Busoga Kingdom) and Mrs. Agatha Kayemba.

We did not authorize any representatives to attend the FUFA meeting’ was the response from the club Director Nyago. We later discovered that Dr. Muvawala had sanctioned this representation.

Questioning the manner and legality of these actions under the watch of FUFA was followed by another rather suspicious act. The federation, released a list of Busoga United’s shareholders into the media – like they were trying to mean that Muvawala had the authority to sanction activities on behalf of the club. But, without the consent of the majority shareholder?

Nyago dismissed FUFA’s communique, revealing that the Busoga Kingdom and Muvawala did not have any form of ownership in the club.

Well, how the Federation came up with that list of shareholders and ‘how Kirinya Jinja SS rebranded to Busoga United’, immediately became mysteries.

Why did Nyago say the Busoga Kingdom and Muwavala had no shares in the club?

Let’s say it is true Busoga Kingdom and Dr. Muvawala indeed had shares in the team just like it was reflected by the records FUFA shared. How then can it be that it turns out that they have no shares? The first scenario would be that there were no shares allocated to the said parties. Withdrawing shares is a process that takes time and not hours to warrant Nyago the confidence to make that claim.

The second scenario would be that they had the shares but were not served with certificates of ownership. It would then be difficult for the mentioned parties to confirm the stake without proof. This usually comes as a result of reluctance and over-trusting.

The other scenario would be that they simply failed (refused) to buy their shares which put them at fault and liable to loss of the said shares.

Whatever the case, Nyago is a very wise woman and cannot be played easily. Otherwise, she would not have gotten away with it considering the fact that it would have made her political ambitions some bit of struggle as a result of the legal implications this would involve. Some sources indicate that her shares in the club are more than what the FUFA documents indicated.

Next was a letter signed and stamped by the Kutukiro of Busoga Dr. Joseph Muvawala withdrawing the Kyabazinga from his role as the Patron of the club and the name (Busoga) from the club citing fraudulent acts by Nyago.

Did the Katukiro of Busoga let himself get stained?

StarTimes UPL Busoga United

A picture of Dr. Muvawala and Moses Magogo during an event at the FUFA Technical center Njeru | Courtesy photo

If Muvawala is not a shareholder in the club, then, how did he get to influence decisions without the need for consent from Nyago?

Let’s go by the scenario that he actually thought he had shares in the club. Does 2% give an individual the power to decide on behalf of a company? Companies act through documents. There was a need for a resolution to this. However, there was nothing in that direction.

How about through the school?

Dr. Joseph Muvawala is the chairman Board of Governors at the school, Jinja SS, which formed the nucleus to the birth of the club, and a shareholder. By virtue of his position, he is the controlling authority of the school and its relations, including the club.

But, why did Nyago take offense when Muvawala made the decision that according to FUFA ‘was not in any way wrong’?

Nyago as the Majority shareholder is the accounting authority at the club and therefore, every decision made by any other shareholder or relations must be under her auspice.

Then, there were threats to have Nyago investigated by the Attorney General over how she had managed the school’s resources during her 12-year reign. This was the only alternative ‘the school’ had left in the fight against Nyago.

How financially stable are they now?

When Nyago resigned in June to pursue politics, she was replaced by Isaac Balimusangayo, a man well known to have little or no interest in sports.

While the school remains a shareholder in the club, the relationship and support greatly depend on the interest of the upper echelons.

Covid-19 and its effects also left them with no gate collections, neither sponsorship money. The FIFA relief can only help to settle a day’s transaction.

The club did not also get any money from the sale of Joel Madondo either.

Players have not been paid for the past months and judging from this, it is not clear if the club will find footing again.

Sponsorship has now also become hard to work around as a result of the negative publicity that was circulated around the club.

The club should expect a bigger financial struggle this coming season (StarTimes UPL 2020/21).

It has also been reported that the club is on sale and we should not be surprised if ownership changes completely at the start of the next season.

What can Nyago do?

She will need to calm down and figure out what and where she wants the club to be.

She needs to find a way to disassociate from the school and this is if Jinja SS indeed has the said shares as per the list released by FUFA in the wake of the matter. This will help her get rid of Muvawala, his ties, and his politricks.

Muvawala and the school are the biggest threats to the club’s future.

Eliminating them from the equation means Busoga United will be indeed Busoga united without limitations on which school gets a player onto the team or which community they get to belongs.

How she gets through the process of getting the school out of the picture I don’t know because of the government’s involvement in the whole process.

She will also need to retain the club’s name, Busoga United FC. Busoga United is not any different from Kitara FC, Mbarara City, Mbale Heroes among others. If Obwakyabazinga wants to withdraw their name from the club, then they can have ‘Busoga’ to themselves as the club remains Busoga United.

Nyago will also need to find another facility. Good thing is, for now, the stipulated SOPs that will see the return of football to Uganda have stipulated stadiums where games will be played. This means she will have less of the pressure at the start of the season.

What awaits them?

Busoga United is one of those clubs that can attract admiration from anyone. They have always seemed like a huge threat to a lot of teams, but somehow, they have not gotten into the bracket of winning anything.

Maybe what Abby Bogere Kikomeko and his boys showcased the previous season would have acted as a springboard to greater heights, but because of what has been happening, things may not be the same again.

They have lost their best players over ‘the time’. Joel Madondo and Boban Zirintusa departed the club after the first round of last season. They have also during the on-going transfer window lost Ibrahim Mugulusi (who was on a one-year loan from Edgars Youth Academy) to BUL FC, David Bagoole who moved on to Vipers SC, and Nelson Mandela, the latest who joined Maroons.

StarTimes UPL Busoga United

David Bagoole is just one of the many players that have left Busoga United due to fear for the conditions ahead | Courtesy photo

While two players have so far managed to extend their contracts (Ali Kimera and Julius Debo), and two are expected to renew (Shafiq ‘Nana’ Kakeeto and Rogers Omedwa) it will be a bit difficult to bring in players with the quality that matches those who have left.

So sad that hopes for the Jinja SS based club to return stronger already faded, and there is not a lot we’re expecting from them.

They are bound to find it difficult competing for anything (including the first 10 positions) like they did last season.

What do you think? – Can Busoga United recover from their ruins to surprise us in the StarTimes UPL 2020/21 season?

We would love to read your thoughts and opinion on this. Share with us your views in the comment section below.

Edwin Musaazi

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