By Asaph Mwebaze
Why is it that some people seem to be hugely successful and do so much, while the vast majority of us struggle to tread water in football?
The answer is complicated and likely multifaceted.
One aspect is the mindset, specifically, the difference between amateurs and professionals. Most of us in Uganda are just amateurs and refusing to adopt the Professional standards that we so much talk about.
The differences are many between us in Uganda and the countries we want to compete with in Africa and those we wish to face in the world cup.
1. Amateurs stop when they achieve something. Professionals understand that the initial achievement is just the beginning
Amateurs have a goal. Professionals have a process. This is quite frankly the way of doing things in Ugandan football. Most clubs in Uganda are created with the sole aim of playing in the premier league in the shortest possible time.
Those that don’t make it crumble those that make it have little or no clue how to sustain the club in the league financially, administratively, and technically.
The professional process is ignored for as long as they are in the league and have eleven players on the field.
2. Amateurs think they are good at everything. Professionals understand their circles of competence
Amateurs see feedback and coaching as someone criticizing them as a person. Professionals know they have weak spots and seek out thoughtful criticism.
In Our country criticism is unacceptable and not only in football circles but in our society in general. It’s in our football family where we tend to disregard formal education and say it doesn’t matter.
In the earlier years, football in Uganda was related to the uneducated and illiterate. This is the reason why we have people claiming to be jacks of all trades.
Without knowing our strength and weakness it will be difficult to progress from amateur football to the professional bracket whether players, administrators or our leagues.
3. Amateurs focus on identifying their weaknesses and improving them.
Professionals focus on their strengths and on finding people who are strong where they are weak.
In Ugandan football, we focus most on where we have failed, why we failed, and who failed us or the system. We appreciate the strength we have or the abilities of our own.
Like I had mentioned earlier it’s a society problem where we believe that we are good for nothing. We don’t give a lot of attention to what makes us, what we are, or what we do better than others.
4 . Amateurs focus on being right. Professionals on the other hand focus on getting the best outcome.
As you may have noticed in our football setting, being right is absolutely everything, and mentioning a fault is considered treasonous.
By not knowing where we are wrong or where we have faulted we continue down a bottomless pit to nowhere. In the places where professional ethics are in practice, it’s the best outcomes that are at the fore.
They will do everything to reach the ultimate goal and always evaluate and correct at every stage.
5 . Amateurs focus on the short term. Professionals focus on the long term.
Because we have failed to take the professional route we are always thinking about the next tournament or the next competition we shall be involved in.
This has failed us in Uganda for donkey years. Like I hand mentioned in the paragraph above, it starts as low as the basic unit in the football pyramid. Close to no club has a plan or program that goes beyond a season.
This translates to up to the pinnacle of the same pyramid. On the other hand, the European countries and the same football nations in north Africa have long time plans that have helped them achieve a lot. It’s the process that the professionals put the effort in, the results will fall in place.
6 . Amateurs focus on tearing other people down. Professionals focus on making everyone better.
This is the most visible difference between the Amateurs our game is and the professionals our friends in Europe are. In Uganda, we tear down each other as our main focus and not the nitty-gritty of the game.
You will always find the “them against us”. On the other hand, the professional attribute would be to improve each other in all aspects and move in the same direction.
7 . Amateurs think disagreements are threats. Professionals see them as an opportunity to learn
Because we refuse to move our game to the real professional status, we view disagreements in Ugandan football as threats to each other.
We don’t disagree on principle, we disagree on personality, creed, and even tribe. Professional football setting would value disagreements and take the opportunity to learn from them.
UEFA has become the leading football playing block of FIFA because of continuously listening to divergent voices and views. The UEFA champions league is a result of these divergent views.
The author is a CAF B licensed coach he also holds a Bachelor’s of Commerce in Accounting and Finance degree and a Master of Arts in Public Administration.