The President of the Republic of Uganda Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has proposed that the Government should consider supporting sports heroes who retire by offering them bursaries to study so that they are able to get employment in other professional disciplines they desire or get employment with the Government.
The President’s statement was made at a function held in Statehouse-Entebbe on Thursday evening to recognize former Uganda Cranes Captain Dennis Onyango.
‘At 35, a sportsman can still serve the country for another 20 years if deployed in civil service or given bursaries to train in higher institutions of learning in a discipline of their choice’ said President Museveni.
President Museveni, who was together with the First Lady and Minister of Education and Sports Mrs. Janet Kataaha Museveni, FUFA President Eng. Moses Magogo was bidding farewell on Thursday evening to the Mamelodi Sundowns star who announced retirement from the National team last month.
The President thanked Onyango and the sports fraternity for bringing Uganda’s name on the world sports map.
‘We thank you sports people. Though the Government has not been supporting you fully, we support you indirectly through immunisation, UPE, peace and security, which enables the development of your talents’ noted the President.
He said that after sorting out the priority areas in the budget including building the infrastructure; electricity, roads, railway, Government can embark on supporting sports areas like building stadia.
President Museveni also suggested that the new Government should get time to discuss the issue of exporting sport skills to other countries saying that Ugandans with sports talents are becoming entertainers outside the country.
‘I congratulate Onyango for what he has done. We shall get time in the new Government and decide on this export scheme whether it is good or bad. What can we do to keep our sportsmen here,’ he said while responding to the First Lady’s concern that even after building up sports and skills with all the sports cadres, they end up going abroad.
He urged Ugandans to listen to his advice of working not only for the stomach but also for the pocket so that Uganda can attain middle income status, saying that this will enable people to support sports activities as fans.
“When people have enough money in their pockets, they can use the surplus for entertainment”, he said.
First Lady and Minister of Education and Sports Mama Janet Museveni
The First Lady and Minister of Education and Sports Mrs. Janet Museveni thanked Dennis Onyango for giving Uganda so much pride as a country when he stood at the helm of the Uganda Cranes and said that bidding him farewell is sad.
Maama Janet who said that she was speaking as a parent, said there is a need to deliberately plan for sports and build the sports people so that even when such people like Onyango retire from playing football, they can become coaches. “We need to build on what we start. We cannot grow if whoever we prepare leaves and goes away for ‘greener pastures’, because we need the Onyangos to be the coaches of the new teams, that is how nations are built. That is how those nations with super teams grow”, she said.
Dennis Onyango who was accompanied by his mother and sister said he was retiring from local football at 35 years to enable the young players take over and still has about three more active years to play in international sports.
He thanked President Yoweri Museveni and government for the support given to him and said he had served the sport for 16 years
The President and the First Lady later gifted Uganda’s heroic sports star with a brand new Pajero Sport vehicle for his exceptional career at both National and international level. FUFA Delegation to the Statehouse also had Vice Presidents Justus Mugisha, Hon. Florence Nakiwala Kiyingi, CEO Edgar Waston and Events Manager Leilah Nankya
The Minister of State Sports Hon. Hamson Denis Obua, NCS Chairman and UOC President Dr. Donald Rukare with NCS General Secretary Dr. Patrick Bernard Ogwel attended the function.
FUFA President Hon. Eng. Moses Magogo
Retention of talent is very important for the growth of the game. When a player’s career ends, there is a need to develop and become a coach.
There is a process that is expensive that should be supported by the Government.
Onyango is a classic opportunity to be prepared to convert to coaching.