Mamelodi Sundowns goalkeeper Denis Onyango has reportedly voiced his disapproval of the East African country’s proposal to downsize the topflight league from 16 to 12 teams from 2021/22 season.
Federation of Uganda Football Associations (Fufa) has announced the proposal as part of a raft of reforms meant to professionalise club football in the country.
However, the Cranes captain Onyango, according to Monitor newspaper, told NTV that trimming the number of the teams would deny many up-and-coming players a chance to play in the StarTimes Uganda Premier League.
“Uganda has thousands of players and reducing the number of teams will curtail their chances of playing in UPL. The [number of teams] in the topflight league should be increased instead,” Onyango said while speaking through a video link.
Apart from Onyango, other stakeholders are reportedly opposed to Fufa’s proposal which the association has published on its website calling for suggestions from the general public in Uganda.
“In a bid to achieve Fufa’s Vision ‘To be the number one football nation in Africa on and off the field’ with a Mission ‘To develop promote and protect football for all’ the Fufa Executive Committee received proposals to reform Professional Club Football in Uganda, hereby presented for any ideas for implementation.
“For the past 10 years, a number of achievements have been registered; creating an independent league body voted for by the clubs with a fulltime secretariat established; many clubs have known owners (natural or legal); increased sponsorship for some clubs and the league; 7 of the 18 clubs in the Uganda Super League then still exist in 2019/2020 while 2 are in the 2nd division league and 9 are defunct.
“With the above achievements it is paramount new reforms are instituted to, among others, enhance quality of Clubs, increase Sporting Competition, improve Service delivery by Organizers, create better Club and League Brands, and increase revenues for both the clubs and the league,” Fufa website reads.
However, the Cranes coach Jonathan McKinstry has since reportedly advised his players against commenting on Fufa’s proposal following Onyango and Cranes team-mate Moses Waiswa’s comments in the media.
“I understand many of the players may have been approached by different media houses to respond to the proposal regarding league updates here in Uganda….,” read part of the message which Kawowo website has quoted.
“I would advise avoiding the topic if possible as it appears some of you are unfortunately being presented with either incomplete or inaccurate information by some media houses.
“Most likely in order for them to get a cheap headline during a time when there is not a lot of football to report on.
“The present situation is that a proposal has been made regarding how to restructure the top 2-divisions of league football here in Uganda, as well as introduction of a Reserve league, and now all stakeholders (clubs, etc) will have opportunity to discuss those proposals.”
By Peter Kanjere
FARPost’s Africa Correspondent