Parliament on Tuesday moved a motion to formally recognize Uganda Cranes for their recent triumph against Comoros that saw them qualify for the Africa Cup of Nations finals for the first time since 1978. There was a proposal each member of parliament contributes sh500,000 to support the Cranes.
A Farouk Miya goal in a 1-0 win saw Uganda’s national football team Cranes qualify for the Africa Cup of Nations after 38 years. Miya is a professional who plays for Standard Liege in Belgium.
Presenting the motion for a resolution of parliament to congratulate Uganda Cranes, member of parliament for Ajuri Dennis Obua Hamson said the qualification of Uganda Cranes, September 4 at Namboole was “of great national pride for not only the football fans, but for the entire nation, cognizant of the fact that Uganda had last qualified in 1978.”
Deputy speaker Jacob Oulanya presided over Tuesday’s session that had in the gallery Federation of Uganda Football Associations (FUFA) officials, players and coach.
Obua, who is also football captain of the parliamentary football team, told parliament that “noting that this qualification presents the requisite spring board for the Uganda Cranes to qualify for bigger and better tournaments, it is resolved that parliament pays glowing tribute to the Uganda Cranes for qualifying for Africa Cup of Nations in Gabon 2017.”
Government, Obua said, should also take a centre stage in “enabling the realization of the dreams of the Uganda Cranes in particular and the sports sub sector broadly through adequate funding, preservation of play grounds and entrenching of physical education in the school curriculum.”
He said that the historic match at Namboole “exemplifies the Uganda spirit of unity, patriotism and nationalism given the many football fans across the political, religious and cultural divide that turned at Namboole to support the Uganda Cranes and the mood across the country after the win.”
He said this was best shown by Mukono Municipality MP Betty Nambooze Bakireke and the First Lady, also education and sports minister Janet Kataha Museveni, who were all singing Uganda Cranes at Namboole.
Obua also noted that this should be a wake-up call to the government to increase the annual budget allocation to the sports sub-sector to facilitate the development and sustainability of sports countrywide. He suggested a bill be tabled within 6 months on the facilitation of sporting activities in the country to provide a regulatory framework for better funding in future.
Seconding the motion, the chairperson of the parliament committee on education and sports also Mbale woman MP Connie Nakayenze Galiwango added her voice to that of Obua, thanking the Uganda Cranes players and Serbian coach Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojevic for making Uganda proud.
Galiwango also decried the low funding to sports activities in the country noting that in the financial year 2016/17, only sh12.2b was provided for physical education and sports despite the many activities like the construction of high altitude training centres in Kaphchorwa and the construction of John Akibua Olympic Staduim.
“Honorable speaker, I want to bring to your attention that the old John Akibua Olympic memorial stadium was sold off and on the construction of a new one on the land that was provided, only 1billion was allocated, “ said Galiwango.
Galiwango also noted that the 5.3billion provided to the National Council of Sports to cater for the many sports associations in the country isn’t sufficient since the biggest part goes to paying salaries of officials and the utilities of the federations.
For his part, the shadow minister of sports also Makindye West MP Allan Ssewanyana noted with concern that the Uganda coach Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojevic is the least paid national coach on the continent saying that he gets only about $10,000 a month while other coaches of national teams that Uganda will be playing against in AFCON get about $70,000 .
Ssewanyana suggested that parliament passes a resolution of parliament for all individual members of parliament to each contribute sh500,000 of their salary towards the Uganda Cranes players and the coach as a token of appreciation for qualifying after 38 years.