Onduparaka Football Club, arguably Uganda’s most-watched club on any given match day, will have to play their games at the Prisons Grounds in Luzira when the StarTimes Uganda Premier League returns on Thursday 29thAugust, 2019, instead of their now famous Greenlight Stadium.
With the FUFA Club Licensing stadium inspection process all but done, Uganda’s topflight league will now be fully played in Kampala and couple of surrounding districts in Wakiso and Jinja, unlike last season when the league saw games also played in Arua, Zombo, Mbarara, Fort Portal, to mention but a few.
The Greenlight Stadium’s pitch was found to need leveling and filling, while their dressing room needed an extra sanitary facility (toilet).
With the repercussions quite heavy, seeing as MTN, one of their major partners, largely rides on their Arua presence, the club have embarked on rigorous works at the stadium under the circumstances to try regain their “Arua-based club” status.
“We are pretty much done with the work and by 25thAugust, everything will be complete for re-inspection,” said Onduparaka FC Head of Communications, Mercy Munduru.
The StarTimes Uganda Premier League is now set to return on Thursday the 29thof August, 2019 when Kyetume take on SC Villa at Namboole Stadium at 8:00pm. Onduparaka will open their account at home vs. Police FC, tentatively at Luzira Prisons Grounds.
But Onduparaka FC can’t understand how FUFA, who tasked them to host Paidha Black Angels and Doves Allstars last season, on top of the FUFA Drum tournament, then go ahead to give them a very short span of time to repair the same Stadium that of course also hosted their FUFA Super 8 ties!
“These (FUFA Drum) interrupted work at the stadium, including rolling the pitch to be able to host games, then came the Super 8 so ordinarily, it wouldn’t be possible (to be ready),” Munduru stated before adding, “Plus the time frame within which clubs are expected to fulfil these requirements within (which are tied to licensing) makes it ridiculous. Remember there are financial implications for this!”
At the end of the day, we all shall agree that standards are very good for the StarTimes Uganda Premier League, but these too should be enforced reasonably and uniformly! How does a football pitch that has been cleared for three consecutive years suddenly not be fitting, more so under the circumstances stated above?
Munduru, in her parting shots asks, “What does this make of the growth of the league which should be the central focus of the federation?” adding, “We are looking at localization and ownership of teams to promote the league but such rules wash down the concept.”
The Greenlight Stadium, attained an unconditional lease by Onduparaka FC, is currently the closest to a suitable facility in the area.