MONEY ISSUES: Budiope County Football team struggling to finish MTN Busoga Masaza Cup
By Our Reporter
If there is any football giant in the whole of Busoga region, then it is Hon. Eng. Moses Magogo, the President of the Federation of Uganda Football Associations (FUFA) who helped Uganda win the right to host the Africa Cup of Nations in 2027 and is the Member of Parliament for Budiope East, Buyende district.
While Magogo is making wonders at the national level, his county team in the ongoing 6th edition of the MTN Busoga Masaza Cup football tournament, Budiope County FC, is on the verge of quitting the competition because they have no money to facilitate their participation in the Kyabazinga tournament.
Budiope is in the Nendha Group alongside Bukooli Namayingo, Bunha and Bunhole Bunanumba. But Budiope was lucky to host its first two games against Bunha and Bunhole Bunanumba at Rock Park Stadium Kidera and travelled to Bukooli Namayingo for their third first-round match, however, the county is struggling to compete in the second round which kicked off last weekend.
Their first match of the second round will be hosting Bukooli Namayingo at Rock Park Stadium Kidera next Saturday, October 14 2023 in Buyende district. However, with less than a week to the match, the team’s management is reportedly cash-strapped and considering pulling out of the competition because they have no resources. The team from Buyende district has no recognized sponsor therefore it depends on donations from well-wishers, solicitation from the public and gate collections from friendly matches. This has proved insufficient especially for away games as the team has to meet transport costs, players’ allowances, feeding and others.
While the team is planning to quit the tournament, wallnetnews caught up with Andrew Kitimbo, the media manager of Budiope County FC who confirmed they are facing financial woes that are affecting their on-field performances because the team is not prepared sufficiently ahead of matches due to resources constraints.
“In the past, Members of Parliament were our biggest funders but this time around the MPs have abandoned us. Budiope has three MPs but only the MP for Budiope West Ibrahim Kyoto gave us some money, Shs1.5m, and the woman Member of Parliament, Annet Mary Nakato.
Eng. Magogo, the Member of Parliament for Budiope East, has remained silent yet the team is suffering. If he doesn’t help now when it is still important, then he will have to do it next season because, as things are right now, we might not come out of the group stages,” said Kitimbo.
While Kitimbo is expecting to hear from Eng Magogo, many people in his constituency are wondering why the man with a lot of love for sports is silent whenever it comes to football matters in his home area. Many believe that while Eng Magogo is hugely achieving as FUFA president, charity begins at home.
“For the time he has been at FUFA, we have never had a player on the national team or the Super League. We thought that now he had come, he would help develop football in the constituency. But now, even Budiope FC is struggling to participate in the Masaza Cup yet this is where the Kyabazinga Nadiope hails from,” a not amused Simon Peter Mpala, in Bugaya, said.
Enock Kiranda from Nkondo was equally perturbed that the MPs are not helping the team. “Magogo would have been leading the line. He has completely shown no interest in Budiope FC. The MPs we have this time are not supportive and that is very bad. They only care about votes. Kyoto and Nakato are equally absent,” Kiranda said, shortly after Budiope’s game after Bunhole Bunanumba in Kidera.
The last time Eng Magogo was seen near matters of football in Busoga was when he led the Busoga Province team of officials and players to Budumbula Palace in Kamuli district ahead of their encounter against West Nile in a FUFA Drum provincial encounter in June this year.
Social commentator Baz Waiswa Baluye said Eng Magogo was able to do this not for sporting reasons but political reasons. “Eng Magogo loves football, no doubt about that but he is also using the sport as a political tool. He is using football to gain political mileage in Busoga.
Waiswa, a resident of Nkoone, in Irundu Sub County added; “Busoga Province which participates in FUFA Drum, a FUFA product, serves his interest well. He has control over the Busoga Province team and FUFA Drum but he doesn’t have such powers and influence over Budiope FC and Busoga Masaza Cup. That sadly explains why he is reluctant to help his county team.”
While it is not mandatory that he should help, Waiswa says not helping, with the resources at his disposal, is embarrassing, especially if the team fails to honour some fixtures. “The good thing for him, apart from coming for votes, he barely associates with Budiope otherwise it would be embarrassing to hear that the FUFA president’s team is suffering the Busoga Masaza Cup,” Waiswa opined.
Magogo’s political rival and critic David Takozekibi when asked about Magogo’s lack of interest in Budiope FC, his response was that Magogo has never had interest in Budiope or Busoga generally other than the political mileage he enjoys by associating with Busoga. Takozekibi pointed out Magogo’s notable absence when it comes to matters of Obwakyabazinga and Busoga.
Efforts to reach Eng Magogo for a comment were unsuccessful because his known mobile phone number was off; however, Eng Magogo who runs an annual Magogo Cup in the constituency last season donated balls to Budiope County FC team. It remains unknown whether he will come to the rescue of the team before it gets worse and the season becomes irredeemable.
In a public plea for financial help shared in several Budiope WhatsApp groups, the Chief Executive Officer of Budiope County FC, Kafeero Nicholus, said they need UGX3.7m to host Bukooli Namayingo for the second leg (return match).
“We shall host Bukooli Namayingo next weekend on Saturday 14/10/2023 at Rock Park Stadium Kidera. Let’s join hands and support our boys to be in the camp for the whole of this week in preparation for our game against Bukooli Namayingo,” Kafeero announced and attached a detailed and elaborative budget.
Meanwhile, Fred Mbazira, the Chairperson of the Budiope County FC, made a clarion call to all people of Budiope to ‘rise to our feet and support our team.’ “Any amount of money counts here. If we all just contributed 10k each, the journey will seem less! Please good people; let’s send our contributions to the treasury.” Mbazira pleaded.