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How will Busoga benefit from successful 2027 Afcon Pamoja bid?

The Pamoja AFCON representatives

The Pamoja AFCON representatives

It was such good news for East Africa, when the Pamoja bid to host the Africa Cup of Nations in 2027 succeeded.

It was nice of Caf, the football-governing body of Africa, to grant Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania an opportunity to host that grand tournament. It is a great achievement for Ugandan football.

However as a concerned citizen from the Busoga sub-region, I am a bit disappointed that in the greater conversation of Uganda’s hosting rights, Busoga has been left out. All I have been hearing, is talk about stadiums in other parts of the country like Namboole, Nakivubo, Kitende and Njeru.

Also, discussions about constructing mega stadiums in Lira and Hoima, I understand have been ongoing, and why not Busoga?

I do not know whether the thinking is that since Njeru and Namboole are on the same road to Busoga, then we can be overlooked in the bigger picture.

But I think Busoga has contributed a lot to Ugandan football to be rendered an afterthought really. First of all, we have stadiums like the Kyabazinga stadium in Bugembe, where Cranes has played international games before, and clearly, this is a stadium that needs renovation to the now considered international standards.

Perhaps, it is one that could have been in the Afcon conver- sation by now. But not to hear anything being mentioned of it, beats my understanding. We all know how important renewed and improved infrastructure is. A stadium would create jobs, hence improving the livelihood of many in Busoga. Of course I have heard many say that Busoga has the Nile bridge.

And while this is a good infrastructure in terms of providing electricity, not many people from Busoga have got direct jobs off it; not like a stadium would. Stadiums around the world employ so many people from cleaners, gardeners, electricians to managers. At the same time, these stadiums would provide match-day business for people with different merchandise, even after the 2027 Afcon.

For example, just imagine how much business would take place during domestic league games. Today, it is unlikely that the much-dilapidated stadiums in Busoga, would attract many people there. I must admit that Hoima is surely becoming the envy of many, beginning with me. With an international airport also being built there, add the oil, and for sure the citizens there are going to experience an uplift in their lives.

To be honest, the people of Busoga are so crazy about football. And without a doubt, they would love to have the Afcon in 2027 being played in their backyard. It would be a good reward for their contribution to football in this country.

The list of some of the finest footballers this country has had, have come from Busoga: Hakim Magumba, Steven Bogere, Timothy Batabaire, Dan Wagaluka, Abel Dhaira (RIP), Alex Isabirye, and even the finest Ugandan goalkeeper, Joseph Masajjage.

Add to the fact that Busoga has so far had two Fufa presidents. The late Twaha Kakaire and now Moses Magogo the current president. If stadiums for Afcon in 2027 cannot be constructed in Busoga, then at least, let us have some hotels, where visitors will stay, as they take in the good tourism sites in Busoga.

The economic bag of Busoga would be boosted greatly as a result. This is also an opportunity to have the Kimaka airstrip rehabilitated. In conclusion, I call upon all the members of parliament from Busoga, especially the former speaker, Maama Rebecca Alitwala Kadaga, who is also a deputy prime minister, Honourable Rukiya Nakadama, Busoga Kingdom prime minister Owekitibwa Muvawala Nsekere, Honourable Persis Namuganza, and Honourable Magogo, who is part of the organizers for Afcon 2027, to voice the concerns of most Basoga regarding this matter.

The author is a retired civil servant

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