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Airtel boosts Fufa budget with Shs 10 billion sponsorship

The Airtel partnership with Fufa is one of the most defining moments of Moses Magogo’s legacies as the Fufa president.

In October 2013, soon after Magogo had been elected president in August 2013, Airtel announced a Shs 4 billion partnership with Fufa for four years.

This money mainly catered for The Cranes, the Fufa Big League and the Uganda Cup. Airtel’s injection of Shs 10 billion into Fufa, announced on Monday, is not only the biggest sponsorship Fufa has ever received but also a package expected to help the local football governing body accomplish its strategic plans.

L-R: Cranes’ player Hassan Wasswa, Fufa boss Moses Magogo, sports state minister Charles Bakkabulindi, Cranes captain Denis Onyango and Airtel managing director VG Somasekhar unveil the new sponsorship deal on Monday

After unveiling the new deal Magogo said Airtel had played a huge part in boosting the growth of the game in the country. He pointed out how their support had a big impact in ensuring The Cranes qualified for their first Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) in four decades.

It is a fact Airtel managing director VG Somasekhar echoed, insisting they had benefited a lot as a brand from their association with The Cranes.

“And I believe Airtel and Cranes can achieve more with continued association, because of the great potential the team is showing,” Somasekhar said.

The new Airtel package will see Fufa receive Shs 2.5 billion in cash per year. At least Shs 1.8 billion of the said sum will go to The Cranes, who at the moment have the Africa Nations Championship (Chan) tournament to contest in January 2018 in Morocco.

Also, the 2019 Afcon qualifiers resume in March next year. Much of this money will help the team prepare, and also ensure that team logistics are in place.

Fufa spokesman Ahmed Hussein said right now they have to raise Shs 10 billion to run their activities smoothly. Therefore, with Shs 2.5 billion already provided by Airtel, it is a good start.

Hussein added: “Fufa has other pertinent activities like the Cranes regional tours, Fufa Juniors League and the annual football awards, which the Airtel sponsorship will cover.”

The development of youth player structures is one of Fufa’s long-term plans. “The future of football lies in player development and that means giving them an opportunity to play,” Hussein said.

He, however, said with the addition of the Fufa Juniors League, Airtel sponsorship will not cover the Fufa Big League and Uganda Cup, like the first deal in 2013. However, previous Uganda Cup winners accuse Fufa of never giving them their winners cash prize of Shs 7 million, which Airtel provides.

SC Villa’s supremo Ben Misagga confirmed on Monday, saying Fufa does not care about clubs: “Despite all the sacrifices we make, to keep the game growing, even the little we are entitled to, Fufa has never given us our money.”

Officials from URA FC, who preferred anonymity alluded to the same, claiming they have never received their cash prize since winning the Uganda Cup in 2014.

But Fufa finance director Decolas Kiiza dismissed it: “Only last season’s winners, KCCA FC, have not been given their money. But we have reconciled our finances with all previous winners to zero balance.”

jovi@observer.ug

© 2016 Observer Media Ltd