The Uganda Rugby Union goes to the polls late this month in a highly anticipated race for presidency.
Outgoing president, Andrew Owor is now focused on serving the sport in a different capacity at a continental level as Vice President Rugby Africa.
Godwin Kayangwe becomes the latest to express interest in replacing Owor.
To those around rugby, he goes by the nickname Toncu and has been around the top leadership for the past six years, first as a member and lately as Secretary General of the Uganda Rugby Union.
The former fullback and center at Pirates from 1997-2000, who later assumed a coaching role at the same club in 2012, is now focused on assuming the Union presidency.
Kayangwe said development and commercialisation summarise his key focus areas.
“We need to see more funds come into Rugby, we need to see more rugby played at the grassroots, more schools playing to be able to feed into the National teams,” he said.
Top on his agenda, is developing women’s rugby, which he says has not been given the attention it deserves.
“We can go much further in women’s’ rugby in a much shorter time than men’s rugby, because the men’s game is very competitive, where as we can compete in the women’s game.
Having been a player, fan and technical person at some stage, Kayangwe said he knows how transparency can affect proceedings and promises to ensure players are rightly motivated.
“ We only need to get better, in the past two years, we don’t have any arrears with the players. I think the conversation should be around whether we increase the monthly stipend received by contracted players.
The Rugby game has grown over the years, attracting several sponsors that are pumping Shs 150 million into the game every season.
But Kayangwe says this is not enough to meet the development needs of the Union.
He said: “The sponsorship contracts we are signing now consider the clubs depending on which league or which tournament they are sponsoring. The league contract right now gives every Super 10 club nine million shillings, so we get Shs150 million from Nile Breweries and 90 million shillings goes to the 10 clubs. We also encourage clubs to look for their own sponsorship because as a Union we cannot fund them fully.”
Quality of Competition
He said the quality of competition has improved greatly and it is not only Heathens, Kobs and Pirates who are dominating like the case used to be. There is the emergence of teams like Warriors and Hippos that have given the traditional giants a run for their money.
With most sports federations faced with limited facilities especially playgrounds, Kayangwe hopes government engagement will help.
“I intend to engage the Ministry of Sports, I know with their influence we can get facilities especially in the regions. The municipal councils have land that they can allocate for sports; we have seen it happen in Tororo and Soroti for rugby and I believe we can do the same for other regions. We have seen clubs take the initiative to acquire their own grounds like Pirates and Masaka, so we believe it’s a collective effort from all stakeholders.”
Name: Godwin Arinaitwe Kayangwe
Playing career: Pirates (1996-2001), Impis (2002)
Administration: Team Manager, URU Committee member, Outgoing Secretary General