The Uganda Volleyball Federation (UVF) held its elective assembly on January 8, at the Cooper Chimney restaurant, Lugogo.
Hadija Namanda was voted new UVF president, succeeding Sadik Nasiwu, who had been at the helm for eight years. For the next four years, Namanda will work with Cornelius Engwenyu (general secretary), Adam Mugisha (treasurer), Isma Bagaga (first vice- president), Patricia Ahumuza (second vice- president) and the two district representatives, Innocent Komakech and Cuthbert Okware for a four-year term.
The volleyball fraternity will be expecting a significant change in the running and management of their sport. But is Namanda suited to the task? Hannington Nsubuga of Vision Volleyball Camp said: “She has been part of the previous executive for eight years; so, I cannot say I expect much change.”
But Nsubuga suggested that since the congress had given her the mandate, time will tell of her suitability. Such a view from Nsubuga could actually be shared by many others under the circumstances.
Last year, there was no men’s league, following disagreements between the clubs and the outgoing executive to which Namanda was part, as first vice-president. The beach volleyball league was also not played.
The outgoing executive cited high water levels at Lido and Sports beach making it hard for the games to go on. But it seems the water levels only affected volleyball; otherwise, other activities like the beach soccer league went on untroubled.
So, believing the fundamental change Namanda promised during her campaign, may be hard. In fact, many believe it is going to be more of the same. But Namanda acknowledged that there were mistakes made in the past, that she will work to avoid. She called upon the volleyball family to work as a team, to propel their sport to great heights.
Namanda highlighted the issue of proper governance and management, public communication, better cooperation with all the sport’s stakeholders, as key to her agenda. She added in her manifesto that volleyball needed to be a brand for better marketing and sponsorship prospects.
Other sports like rugby, basketball, cricket and football have left volleyball in their wake as far as corporate sponsorship is concerned. This has limited the sport’s exposure internationally.