History of Football in Uganda

The history of Football in Uganda dates back to 1897 when the British, led by Mr. Pilkington, a famous Cambridge athlete proposed to teach the Baganda Football at Namirembe. It was an experience not without complications.

They could neither remember their positions nor the rules. On occasions when the Baganda princilings decided to play, they were followed by umbrella bearers, striving to keep the sun off their royal heads while they chased about with their Kanzus kilted about their waists, and stool-bearers ready for them to sit down whenever they felt tired. Pilkington spent such times between fury and helpless laughter.

To one enthusiastic church elder who in his excitement had grabbed the ball in his hands, he shouted:

"What do you think this is, a game? This is REAL WORK. And when you touch the ball with your hands its is a GREAT SIN!"

The youngsters learned quickly and became wildly keen, though their lack of English made it difficult for them to understand Pilkington's more impulsive directions, especially when two teams, carried away by their enthusiasm, could not be confined within the football field and chased off, kicking at the ball and each other; and screaming war-cries until spectators were sent to herd them back.

UGANDA FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION (Now FUFA) was formally constituted in 1925 when a few sportsmen and Keen Footballers met to discuss the propagation of the game in Uganda. Football which had been introduced in the country at the close of the previous century by the missionaries, was mainly being played in the Missions. In 1962 a league was inaugurated. This made it possible for the games to expand and for the first time Government Departments and commercial houses were affiliated to UFA.

In 1953, proper representation was introduced through the four provincial associations-Buganda, Eastern, Northern and Western that were affiliated to UFA; and in turn District Associations, and teams in a particular province were affiliated to the Provincial Associations.

The home of UFA was at Nakivubo Stadium, Kampala.

During 1926, a trophy known as the GOSSAGE Challenge Cup was introduced as an Annual event for the East African territories-Kenya, Tanganyika, Uganda and Zanzibar.

In 1956 Uganda undertook a most successful tour of England which culminated in the memorial victory of Uganda over the British Olympic XI by two goals to one. With that memorial win Uganda started to participate in international matches.

UFA became affiliated to the International Football Association (Now FIFA) in 1960 and in 1961 become affiliated to CAF.

Extracted from: O'BRIEN, BRIAN. " That good physician." London, Hodder and Stoughton, 1962.
......The life and work of Dr. Sir Albert Cook in Uganda