A fortnight ago, the Federation of Uganda Football Association (Fufa) publicised draft reforms it seeks to undertake in the game. In the spotlight is trimming of StarTimes Uganda Premier League (UPL) composition to 12.
The top-flight league has run with 16 teams since 2011/12 season – after a reduction from 18 teams that plied the super league prior to the 2010 heated reforms.
Fufa says trimming the league will increase competition and enhance the federation’s quest to be the best league on the continent. Being a proposal, Fufa said it was open to ideas from all stakeholders, including members of the public.
However, it is unfortunate that the federation has turned around and is growling at those with divergent ideas.
Last week, Fufa told a section of Uganda Cranes players they have no business commenting on the proposal.
Not done, the administrators of football in the country at the weekend scoffed at some of those opposed to the proposals, saying they are “selfish.” Pegging its ‘stellar’ records as a yardstick, Fufa said it would ignore views of “those with vested interests” and push forward with the proposals.
Fufa might have knocked down every divergent view with previous proposals and succeeded, but it does not mean every future reform must be forced through. Even the greatest generals who tried to obtain too much have ruined their chances of success by overplaying their hands.
Fufa might be a private company, but it has never been an island. On the land on which it operates are 44 million stakeholders – without whom there is no football federation.
The players, including professionals, should be invited to the dais of a healthy conversation on the future of the league. They are the ones who feed the national team.
Even professional players mainly pass through the local leagues to raise the national flag abroad.
Name-calling and shutting the door on divergence of views will not help Fufa. At worst, it could instead lead to misunderstandings that the federation is hiding something.
Unless Fufa has already made its decision and only passed around nonbinding proposals to hoodwink the public, there is no better way to achieve reforms than through a healthy conversation that factors in the views of all stakeholders.
Fufa must listen to all. And listen well.