The Sports Budget has witnessed gradual improvement to the current Ugx.26.4 Billion as provided for in the National Budget for the Financial Year 2019/2020. The augmented funding of National Council of Sports presents an opportunity for improved sports performance for Uganda's Sports athletes at National and international level and Uganda is now a force in sports. The improvements are as a result of deliberate government efforts to support and enable the sports athletes to thrive at different sports engagements. A case is that of the National Football Team, the Uganda Cranes who attained a great performance upto the knock out phase of the AFCON tournament.

Accordingly, the President of Uganda rewarded USD 1Million to the National Team. This is in addition to satisfactory support to the team right from qualification stage to participation in Egypt. Equally in April 2019, the President fulfilled his pledge and procured a brand new Executive Bus for the Uganda Cranes to facilitate the teams' performance.

Below is the message of H.E the President of Uganda during a welcome ceremony for the National Team yesterday at State House, Entebbe.

‘I welcomed the National Soccer Team- The Cranes, from Egypt where they represented us so well. Making it to the last 16 out of the 53 countries is a commendable job.

When Uganda began recovering, we started sports Again. Government has not committed to supporting the national team seriously, but we have been doing it in a small way because we are dealing with other pressing issues like; security, education, health, roads, piped water, electricity, ICT.

However, this small push is already bringing very good results, when we start supporting it more, imagine what our sportsmen/women can do.

Because of their entertaining value, games bring unity. It's not good for people to bring partisan politics in games, if you see anyone doing it, you know they are unserious. Drunkards enjoy games, thieves suspend stealing for 90 minutes. Games are good therapy for society.

However, in runyankore we say, "Buto ekorera bukuru"; literally meaning one should work for their old age when still young. So, our sports people must prepare well so that they don't live miserable in old age.

Our sports people from the past have not lived a good adult life. I ask the players to remain disciplined, they should avoid alcohol and womanising.

I'm very happy that the Cranes went up to the last 16. I know we will perform better next time. I will organise 1m dollars with the government to distribute it among the players and officials. Of course, the officials will not get as much as the players.

Although we didn't win all our fixtures, we made a good effort and achieved some reasonable success. I don't know how Senegal got that goal. I see our players are all fit young people. All they need is more stamina.

I thank you very much and wish you good luck.’

Tuesday, July 9, 2019