July 5, 2022

FUFA Big League – the football furnace

By Football256 Team
Arua Hill SC players celebrate with the FUFA Big League trophy after they gained promotion in 2021 | Arua Hill SC photo

By Asaph Mwebaze

Uganda’s second tier division is the most difficult league of them all. It has dynamics that you will not see anywhere – every season is an episode like no other.

Distance

By its nature of promotion, teams joining it are from all regions of Uganda and from different corners.

The distances covered during the season are normad-like. This causes wear and tear to the players, vehicles and fans that follow their favorite teams in the journey to the premier league or otherwise.

Each distance averagely costs a whopping 3 million shillings, translating into 30 million on away games a season.

Unpredictability

In this league, everybody has a chance of promotion and even, a possibility of relegation!

In the Big League, there is nothing like aristocracy. Teams like Maroons and Ndejje University have so much experience in the league but have flattered with relegation in recent seasons.

On the other hand, Proline and Nyamityobora who are former premier league teams were caught by the trapdoor to the regional league.

Playing surfaces

The Big League is more less the ATPA tour of Tennis where they play on clay courts, grass courts, hard courts and artificial surfaces.

The surfaces in this League will shock any team out of their boots. Players have to be adaptive and mentally strong to get results in away games from their home comfort.

I visited Moroto, Kasese and Busia while in charge of Big League teams and the games could last more than the allotted 90 minutes in our minds.

Players

Here, each team has very good players because of having the ability to scout in their regions of aboard.

They have a chance to assemble all the best players in the region and surrounding communities and districts. This makes all of the teams surprise packages, no wonder, most teams will win the home games.

Crowds

The Big League has averagely and relatively bigger crowds than the Uganda premier league. This is because most people relate to teams in their localities and have ties with players and team owners.

The crowd being the 12th man is very vivid in this league. Teams from West Nile, Mbale and Western Uganda are so supported, making visiting teams and match officials live on the edge.

Finances

When you have your team drawn in the Big League fixtures, you may have to allude to the Minister of Finance’s recent phrasing on the economy: “tighten your belt” for your trousers may fall.

This league has high expenditures in transport, accomodation at away games, salaries and allowances of player and administration.

It is safer for premier league teams to stay up than mingle with these boys below. For the new boys on the block, Police FC, Mbarara City and Tooro FC, you are welcome to the furnace that heats, shapes and sizes big and small boys as one.

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