Log in
Updated minutes ago

Zoning the way to go to groom youngsters

Simon Adingra

Simon Adingra

The recently-concluded Africa Cup of Nations Afcon was very absorbing, full of thrills and spills.

The most memorable bit is that many matches were decided in injury time. Another thing that stood out, albeit subtly, is that teams no longer use youngsters sparingly as has always been the notion.

In fact, I noticed that on several occasions, it was the youngsters who carried nations. Take the Ivory Coast duo of Simon Adingra, Ousmane Diomande or even Mali’s Lamine Camara. They were a joy to watch.

Globally, football is evolving very fast to the extent that a 15-year-old is a regular starter for Barcelona, one of the most difficult squads to break through. In fact, Tanzania’s squad, in spite of their shortcomings, had seven teenagers.

The key question for Uganda is; do we have a pool of youngsters that can be called up to the national team?

Fufa has always insisted on using the tried and tested players but that has also been found stale. The fact is that we have the talent but it is how we groom it that stagnates them. I have consistently written within these pages that we need to utilize the various football zones countrywide to create a pool of competitive youngsters that can take us forward.

Zones should be empowered to harness youngsters and even compete amongst themselves. One can argue that Fufa’s Drum tournament answers this but remember, the players that feature in Drum are mostly from Kampala.

In the golden era of Ugandan football, players used to be unearthed from across the country and would arrive in Kampala to play for the giant teams when they are already finished products. Take Paul Hasule, he didn’t need to prove anyone when he joined Villa. Teams like Nytil, Tobacco or even Mbale Heroes used to make Kampala giants doubt themselves.

Unfortunately, what we have in Uganda at the moment is that every good young player is in Kampala. To make matters worse, many are rotting on the benches of the big clubs.

And Fufa is not concerned about this. Instead, it spends a great deal of time on unnecessary amendment of laws to keep the current leadership in office yet football is played on the pitch, not boardrooms.

They spend a lot of time on inconsequential things like the recent launch of the league match ball. Really! Who even found the time to name a ball Zakayo? Sincerely, how is that going to take our football forward?

The author is SC Villa president emeritus

Comments are now closed for this entry