Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Federation of Uganda Football Association (FUFA) has unveiled a comprehensive seven-year football development plan aimed at promoting and professionalizing the sport at all levels, from grassroots to elite. The plan was formulated following a one-day brainstorming meeting held at the Buikwe-based FUFA technical center on Monday, during which stakeholders unanimously adopted the plan as a means of nurturing and consolidating football talent across the country.
The plan encompasses various key aspects, including talent identification, player development, strengthening youth competitions across all age groups, coaching education, infrastructure development, elite referee development, improvement of sports science and technology, professionalization of club football, and facilitating players’ transition into life after football.
FUFA’s Communication Director, Ahmed Hussein, says that one critical aspect that has been overlooked in the past is providing footballers with a clear retirement plan. This has resulted in many players experiencing depression and struggles after their active careers in the sport. To address this issue, FUFA has devised a clear pathway to support players in embracing other career prospects throughout their life journey.
“Players will be facilitated financial literacy so as to resourcefully invest their earnings in viable enterprises while still active in the sport or further their studies to create chances of joining other long-term career opportunities and probably riding on their popularity to join politics as part of their decent retirement,” he said.
He says that FUFA plans to roll out a mass football campaign across the country, ensuring that football pitches in every parish are well-leveled and maintained. This initiative aims to generate widespread interest in the sport, thereby facilitating talent identification and nurturing players through the youth football system, ultimately leading to their selection for national teams.
In addition, negotiations are underway with the government to establish a sports training institute that will cater to individuals interested in both the technical and administrative aspects of football. This institute will equip aspiring individuals with the necessary knowledge and skills to meet international standards, further strengthening the development of the game in Uganda.
To improve the professionalism of football coaching, the plan emphasizes the classification of coaching into seven classes, depending on an individual’s level of expertise. Hassan Zzungu, a youth football coach, highlights the significance of this aspect, stating that the holistic management of football goes beyond the pitch.
“Football is beyond the pitch, it entails players’ psychological well-being, health, financial aspects, among other issues, therefore, unless our coaches are well equipped with managing the sport holistically, the sport will remain in retarded stature,” he said.
He says that by equipping coaches with comprehensive skills, the sport can thrive, and players can fully realize their potential and enjoy prosperous football careers.