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Unlocking Uganda’s potential: A call to prioritize sports devt

Namboole stadium pitch

Namboole stadium pitch

Today Janet Museveni, the minister of Education and Sports, toured Namboole stadium and Nakivubo World War Two Memorial stadium (Ham Stadium).

While the tour was meant to give her a first-hand account of the progress of works at both stadia, it brought to the fore the glaring reality of the effects of prolonged rehabilitation works at the two sites.

It is not just the rehabilitation works for the two football stadia that have been delayed. The Teryet National High-Altitude Training Centre in Kapchorwa district has had its fair share of slow works as government embarks on phase II of construction. And it is not clear when construction of the different stadia that will host some of the games of the 2027 Africa Cup of Nations football will commence.

These delays, symbolic of the malaise afflicting our sports industry, serve as a poignant reminder of the untapped potential lying dormant within our nation. Uganda, a land brimming with talent, remains shackled by the apathy towards sports development.

Our rural areas, fertile grounds for nurturing raw talent, are teeming with young individuals who possess the latent abilities to become world-class athletes. Yet, year after year, these talents go unnoticed, squandered, or worse, poached by neighbouring nations, partly because of lack of standard sports infrastructure.

Eastern Uganda boasts of athletes coveted by Kenya, while the central region produces footballers of exceptional skill. Boxers from the north and east possess untapped potential awaiting recognition. It is time for the government to awaken to the wealth of talent scattered across our nation and realise the transformative power sports can wield.

The youth bulge in Uganda presents both a challenge and an opportunity. With a population where the youth outnumber the elderly, we stand at a crossroads where we can either harness this demographic dividend or let it slip through our fingers. Unemployment among the youth looms large, casting a shadow over our nation’s future. However, sports offers a beacon of hope, a pathway to not only tackle unemployment but also to uplift our nation’s image and economy.

Investing in sports is investing in the future of Uganda. By providing the necessary attention and financial resources, we can address myriad social issues plaguing our youths. Sports have the power to instill discipline, foster teamwork, and cultivate resilience — qualities essential for success, both on and off the field.

Moreover, the economic benefits of a vibrant sports industry are manifold. From attracting tourism to generating revenue through exports of talented athletes, the potential for growth is immense.

It is time for the government to shed its indifference towards sports and accord it the priority it deserves. We cannot afford to let this gem lie idle any longer. The time for action is now. Let us reinvigorate our sports infrastructure, revamp grassroots programs, and provide the necessary support to nurture our budding athletes.

As a nation, we cannot afford to overlook the transformative power of sports. Let us seize this opportunity to unlock Uganda’s full potential and pave the way for a brighter, more prosperous future. The ball is in our court — let us make the right play for the sake of our youth, our nation, and our future.

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