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THE KNOWLEDGE: Why do you call them pros

In one of your sports pages of Monday August 31, there was a story about Ugandan footballers playing outside the country. What surprised me was that you chose to call all of them professionals. I have time and again challenged several people to prove to me and other fans who think like me why you call them pros but up to now I’ve not got any answers. I need you to disprove me Zziwa.

 In my view, the following players are not professionals; Shaka Okello, Godfrey Kateregga, Johnson Bagoole, Hamis Kitagenda, Dan Wagaluka, Godfrey Wakaza, Joseph Kabagambe, Eric Kamya, Samadu Mutumba, Rogers Atugonza, Paul Musoke and Brian Kimbugwe. If they are pros, let me get the good reasons from you; Duncan Naigende (dnaigende@iwayafrica.com)

 In sport, professional means an athlete that plays for money. Simple. That’s why there are amateurs and professionals. For example, in sporting disciplines such as boxing, golf, amateurs aren’t allowed to compete or win any cash prizes until they turn pro.

However, the term professional was loosely translated in football to describe a player, especially from Africa, who plays football in Europe. This was started in the 1970s when many of African domestic leagues were run in an amateur way. The notion behind it was to portray these players to be of special status.

According to Article 2 on the status of players under FIFA regulations, a professional is a player who has a written contract with a club and is paid more than the expenses he effectively incurs in return for his footballing activity. - In other words, even our Super League players are professionals even though the public best understands the word when describing players abroad.


Richard Mutaawe, Simon Kyeyune and Twaha Luganda of Ggaba are locked in a argument whether Uganda Cranes has ever played Lebanon in any competition;

Gentlemen it is true Uganda played Lebanon. This happened during the Kuwaiti Friendship Games hosted in 1989. In fact, strikes from Magid Musisi and Umar Senoga gave Uganda a 2-0 win over Lebanon in the group stage.

In the same competition, The Cranes drew 1-1 with hosts Kuwait (Ronald Vvubya scored Cranes goal) to qualify for the semi-final against Iran. That match ended 2-2 (Ronald Vvubya & Magid Musisi) but Cranes won in a penalty shootout.
In the final, Uganda drew 1-1 (Hasule scored for Cranes) against Iraq but the latter won in a penalty shootout.

Jimmy Kakeeto of Wandegeya asks; in one of your previous articles in The Observer you indicated that Coffee FC was represented Uganda in the 1982 CAF Cup Winners Cup from the  lower division. Wasn’t that a mistake?

Coffee won Uganda Cup in 1981 but was relegated in the same year. Hence they represented Uganda by virtue of winning the Cup. Coffee played the 1982 season in Division One ‘Regular’ but played Zambia’s Power Dynamo which eliminated them 2-0 on aggregate.

Send questions to bzziwa@observer.ug

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