Tuesday, December 10th, marked exactly two months since the Federation of Uganda Football Associations’ (FUFA) president Moses Hashim Magogo was slapped with a two-month ban from all football related activities.
Magogo entered into a plea bargain with FIFA’s Ethics and Integrity committee for his role in the illegal resale of the 2014 World Cup tickets.
Makindye East parliamentarian Allan Ssewanyana petitioned FIFA in 2017, with evidence linking Magogo to a scam regards the resale of 126 tickets, through his agent Peninah Kabenge Aligaweesa for a reported fee of $40,000 (approx. UGX 146 million) from USA based Howard Schwartz.
The Pro-Magogo camp will feel that their own has been vindicated for what they claim is a plot against the person who they refer to as ‘historical president’ for his contribution towards the development of the game in the country (the more towards sustaining their own welfare).
While Ssewanyana and company carry the feeling of agitation against a person who they know did wrong to the game but is flaunted around as innocent.
On his part, Magogo has had a significant impact on football in the country; throughout his reign; the Cranes have qualified for back to back African Cup of Nations tournaments, reaching the knockout round in 2019.
The FUFA Drum tournament which is yet to live up to its initial objective of tapping talents from grassroots, as it is dominated by resources from the top division. Regardless, it has re-invigorated the love of the game in the regions.
FUFA has also had a more corporate image under Magogo, with more and more entities willing to work with the federation, this plus the huge investment from the government, which is nearly 60% of the total outlay into sports has positioned FUFA as the quintessential sports association.
Women football, beach soccer which for long came second have all come to the fore, with the women league top division re-branded as the Super League.
Youth football has received tremendous backing under Magogo, with national teams from the U-15 to U-23 taking shape, the FUFA Juniors league well into its fourth season, while tournaments like Odilo for Primary schools have been formed, and you cannot take away his contribution in all this.
But in a perfect world where morals and ethics of society are upheld, Magogo would not be anywhere near being welcomed back to office.
It saddens so much to see people who claim to be for football and its development, welcoming back a person who was convicted or agreed to have committed a crime of such magnitude. I am not saying he should be cast out, but he just cannot be occupying an office of such influence.
However, in our world, individuals are so centered on their welfare and livelihoods, that they would rather sell their souls and every ounce of dignity there is to prove as loyal in return for a few shillings.
The precedent set when Magogo is accorded a hero’s welcome to take over football reigns in the country again shapes the course of our future. Previously the game has been affected greatly by the affairs off the pitch, more than the actual incidents on the pitch.
As a fan, I would wish to see divisions along the lines of SC Villa, KCCA FC, Vipers SC or Express FC rivalries, than having divisions in the football political spheres.
In a nutshell, I feel that with Magogo handling the biggest office in football in the country does not provide the competence needed to change the image of the game.
But at the back of my mind, am sure the individuals that matter rather choose their personal gains over actually doing what’s right. Has football really won?