Uganda: Youth Soccer – A Lost Cause?

By Katongole Kiwanuka – While there is certainly cause for concern when it comes to what is going on with Uganda’s age category football, the whole arrangement is not lost.


A Masaka SS player in a match against St. Mary's Kitende.

A Masaka SS player in a match against St. Mary's Kitende. Only one coach was in Arua to look at the 920 players who turned up for the youth championships in Arua. (Courtesy photo by EXP)

Only some people are. Just last week when I was attending the Copa Coca-Cola Youth Championships in Arua, I realised that Uganda’s budding potential is only undermined by reckless talent identification.

“Most people in Uganda prefer fighting for players in Kampala rather than spending a few hundred shillings to come here,” pondered youth coach Mike Mutebi in an interview. During my ten-day stay in the darkroom lodges of Arua, I only spotted one Super League coach – Matia Lule of KCC FC, not because I could not identify the others but they rather preferred to storm Kampala drinking joints instead of thinking about the future.

Lule is known largely for his passion for youth football and talent identification. He is a very talented young man who recruits most of his players from schools. This young man has shown strength far beyond his years. He and Mutebi would make any parents proud. Players who decide to develop with such caring coaches than seeking a short lived fortune would be good for Uganda’s football future. Some responsible personnel for developing our talent base especially in FUFA could take longer to find their way, and – as with every business – they can hibernate.

The problem is that the platform Coca-Cola championships has provided has turned political making the lost ones just stand out more.