Government should embrace netball – Denis Mugonza Waggumbulizi

The Uganda National Netball Team has repeatedly proved to the world that indeed Uganda is a Pearl of Africa in the Netball Game. The consistent success of this team is something that i thought should not be taken for granted if anyway, Mr. Museveni’s Administration wishes Ugandans a livable life and the country better opportunities on the international scene.

The team’s victory in various competitions across the world is increasingly marketing Uganda as a good country in the Netball Sport, and this has got a huge impact towards the image of Uganda to the outside world. Our girls now make everyone in those countries wish to visit Uganda. This has got a great impact for Sports Tourism and the country’s GDP. The persistent good performance of Uganda’s Netball Team is a realization of Uganda’s wealth in netball talent. In the netball rankings today, Uganda possess the 1st position in the whole of Africa, whereas the 6th in the entire world. What a treasure it is!

A token of appreciation should be given to our girls who are flying Uganda’s flag high amidst a number of challenges. They make us proud as a country though. Thank you. A great deal of mistake would stand committed if i do not extend a token of thanks to the Uganda Netball Federation led by Hon. Sarah Babirye Kityo. They have proved to be constructive and inspirational netball managers compared to the past administration. Thanks again. To be realistic, the game of netball in Uganda has steadily improved and the fruits are being harvested. Netball has created employment opportunities for our girls to play professional netball in Europe. The likes of Mary Cholhok Nuba and Peace Proscovia (Captain) are two UK based players who we celebrate today, while many of our other girls are playing in 12 clubs here in Uganda such as NIC, KCCA, Prisons, POSTA, UPDF, Police, Busia Greater Lions, African Renewal University to mention but a few. These clubs have provided education and jobs to our girls which have improved their standards of living. At least, the Government admits that it cannot provide jobs to all Ugandans both educated and non-educated. However, the Government has not bothered to embrace Sports as a sector that would provide hundreds of employment opportunities to Ugandans and that this would partly reduce youth unemployment.

In Europe, USA, Latin America, Asia, West Africa and North Africa, they have embraced Arts, Sports and Talent development. They made research and found out that this would solve the unemployment scourge in their countries. Athletes and Artistes in those countries now earn huge sums of money and they are able to better their lives, families and nation development. We dance to their music and watch their movies. In Africa, the likes of Sadio Mane of Senegal and Bayern Munich FC in Germany, Muhammad Salah of Egypt and Liverpool FC in UK, Edouard Mendy of Senegal and Chelsea FC in UK, Denis Masinde Onyango of Uganda and Mamelodi Sundowns FC in South Africa, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang of Gabon and Chelsea FC in UK to mention but a few who are playing commercial football in Europe are a real example that Uganda must embrace. These people are a great inspiration to their families and countries, but particularly the young generation.

The government does not need any more to waste the taxpayers’ money and hire CNN to advertise Uganda as a good country to the world. Yes, it has a good impact towards tourism development, but Sports has proved to the world how it is a better tool to use for marketing. Rwanda has already embraced Sports as a tourism avenue and source of employment opportunities to the young people. This is evidenced when Arsenal Sports Club in London is playing football. The jersey of Arsenal is branded with” Visit Rwanda” a message inviting the world to visit Rwanda and witness its lovely nature. Rwanda has done this for quite a long period of years since their partnership with Arsenal begun, and maybe it has earned the country wonders in tourism.
Small as it is, Rwanda has invested much in Sports development for instance stadiums have been built to enable talent flourish, whereas in Uganda the playgrounds that should have been developed into stadiums for Sports activities are being sold off for commercial buildings. What a disservice to the nation it is! Rwanda will be reminisced for hosting the 4th edition of CHAN tournament in 2016 for the men’s national teams of Africa featuring exclusively players from their respective national leagues. A total of 16 teams played in the tournament. It was a big achievement for Rwanda. Uganda cannot do this because it has no capacity to do so. There is something much and more serious that needs to be done by the Government to better sports in Uganda for it has better opportunities for both individual and nation development.

Much as the Government of Uganda is making effort to better lives of Ugandans through development programs like Emyoga, PDM, YLF to mention but a few, the Government should realize that not all young people shall involve themselves in agriculture as Mr. Museveni thinks. The contemporary world has proved to us that the young people do not want to involve in things that consume most of their time to earn a living yet boring. Most of them want to involve in activities that are short term yet earning them money, and Sports is one of these short term activities. One plays netball or football for an hour but then earns million pounds. Others like Joshua Cheptegei, Stephen Kiprotic, Boniface Toroitich Kiprop, Winnie Nanyondo, Peruth Chemutai and Halima Nakayi run for minutes in athletics but then earn gold and millions of money.

Considering the modern world, if the young people are not catered for as in to answer their needs for survival, they shall still become a problem especially to third world countries like Uganda. There will be an increase in crime rate because the young people do not have employment to meet their needs. There will be high fertility rate because the people are redundant. The youth shall turn against Government because they think their leaders have done nothing to create opportunities for them. The Government shall brutally arrest them, but this will not solve the real problem that the youth are going through or demonstrating for. The government must answer their needs or the employment scourge through sports like netball which is already doing us wonders as a country. Sports should be embraced as a sector or tool to fight crime and poverty in Uganda, and netball should be one of these sports because we have the talent and opportunities are there.
The world is advancing and so we should advance with it. Universities and Tertiary institutions should start up courses in sports like Sports & Financial management, Sports & Administration, Sports & Nutrition management, Exercise physiology, Sport psychology, Sports marketing, Sports journalism to mention but a few. In other words, Institutions of higher learning should teach courses depending on the needs of the job market, and so we shall reduce the problem of unemployment especially among youth in Uganda. The Government should start considering Sports as serious and invest a lot in it like building stadiums and work hand in hand with Sports Federations to tap and develop talent from the grassroots especially that Sports has proved to be one of the world’s most source of incomes to the young people and nation development. Sports should not be looked at as a leisure activity or political tool to win support from the electorates, but as an industry designed to provide jobs to the population.

Once again congratulations to Uganda’s Netball National Team, She Cranes for the stellar performance at the Commonwealth Games 2022 and the Fast 5 World Series. The passion and excitement you brought to each game is commendable. Thank you for flying the Ugandan Flag high. We celebrate you!

By Denis Mugonza Waggumbulizi | Advocate, Researcher & Entrepreneur

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