The recent entry of Kiryowa Kiwanuka in the football administration fray has caused quite a stir at the top football leadership.
Unlike many in Fufa whose lives and survival is dependent on football, Kiwanuka stepped in as a saviour and is already making big strides to help at Express FC regain their lost glory.
Given his credentials, he is also a threat to the establishment that sees him as a progressive person with serious ambitions to revamp our football. His firm stand on the Fufa-StarTimes deal was an eye-opener about the threat he possesses. For that reason, the Fufa hierarchy is out to ‘tame’ him with preferential treatment of Express.
Events from last week’s controversial draw between Express and Vipers found their way into the Fufa boardroom, where match officials were handed severe penalties for Vipers’ controversial equaliser.
This was just the latest instalment in the new Fufa-Express love affair. It is easy to forget that a few weeks ago, the Fufa Disciplinary Committee docked Express two points for their fans’ violence in a match against Mbarara United at Kavumba grounds.
However, the same committee – under pressure from above – made a U-turn days later and instead let the club off the hook with a reprimand. That’s what it means to be in the good books of the powers that be in Fufa.
Ironically, this was the exact treatment I got from Fufa in 2014 when I took over the reins at SC Villa.
Back then, Villa got six boardroom points off Express, something that propelled the Jogoos to almost winning the league title. I’m not suggesting that we were favoured, but Fufa was more than willing to help us.
I thought all was well until the 2015 Uganda Cup final that KCCA FC caused to be aborted. Shortly after the game in which Villa was supposed to be declared champions, Fufa president Moses Magogo approached me to accept a replay because Fufa was going to be condemned by Jennifer Musisi, the KCCA executive director, who had witnessed the madness on the pitch.
I grudgingly accepted and even though Villa won the replay, I partly regret why we didn’t allow rules to guide us. At the moment, Fufa is out to help Express in all forms, even if it means, going overboard, to satisfy Kiryowa simply because if he is happy at Express, chances are high he won’t go hard on the Fufa cartel.
This is a key component to Magogo’s grand plan to stay in office by keeping his possible challengers happy at their clubs. He already knows his days in office are numbered and, therefore, cannot afford new foes to add to myself and his former mentor Lawrence Mulindwa, whose Vipers is now treated as an outcast. So, he has to win the hearts of the likes of influential figures like Kiryowa.
The same Vipers that caused Villa to be docked two points last season was ignored when Villa hooligans unleashed violence on their supporters at Namboole stadium recently. Do you notice the change of trend?
Compare this; last season when referee William Oloya disallowed a genuine goal Derrick Nsibambi for KCCA FC against BUL FC, he was suspended for six months but when Ronald Kirangwa counted Vipers’ offside goal against Express, he is given three years on top of banning his assistants.
One of the underlying factors in this is that Ronnie Kalema, the Uganda Football referees Association boss, is a business partner with Oloya.
The bigger picture here is that Fufa needs to address the referees’ remuneration. Sincerely, how can match officials be impartial in top-flight games when they earn a paltry Shs 150,000 per game? How can you expect competence or even not to be compromised when someone is willing to pay bribes in millions? That’s food for thought for all stakeholders.
The author is Nyamityobora FC president.