President Museveni calls on sportsmen to work hard in their youthful days so as to prepare for their old age.
While addressing a full contingent of Uganda Cranes players and officials at a luncheon yesterday, President Museveni urged all sportsmen to ensure they work hard in their youthful days so as to prepare for their old age.
Museveni who was also thankful for the players’ commendable job, rewarded the entire group including officials with one million dollars (shs3.7 billion) as a token of appreciation for their surprising performance at the 2019 Total African Nations.
According to Museveni, although the boys didn’t win all their fixtures, they made a good effort and achieved some reasonable success.
“I congratulate you for having achieved some reasonable. However, in Runyankore, we say, ‘Buto ekorera bukuru’ to mean one should work for their old age when still young. So, our sports people must prepare well so that they don’t live miserable in old age,” he said.
“I am very happy that the Cranes went up to the last 16. I know we will perform better next time. I will work with the government to organize one million dollars to distribute among the players and officials in a way you share it,” he added.
This was the first time Uganda qualified for the last 16 of any AFCON tournament in 41 years since 1978. Bowing out of the tournament after a 1-0 defeat to Senegal.
However, President Museveni claimed that he was unaware of how the Senegalese got their goal insisting that the Cranes are also relatively fit and young people like the former.
In the wake of claims, Museveni admitted that government is yet to start rendering full support to the national team but noted that it is being done together with other sectors.
“When Uganda began recovering, we started sports Again. Government has not committed to supporting the national team seriously, but we have been doing it in a small way because we are dealing with other pressing issues like; security, education, health, roads, piped water, electricity, ICT,” Museveni said.
“However, this small push is already bringing very good results but I think when we start supporting it more, imagine what our sportsmen and women can do,” Museveni added.
In addition, he warned the players against engaging in irresponsible acts like taking alcohol and womanizing because they would put an end to their talents.
The President also stated that because of sport’s unifying and entertaining value, it is not good to enjoin partisan politics into it.
“Our sports people from the past have not lived a good adult life. I ask the players to remain disciplined, they should avoid alcohol and womanising,” he said.
“Because of their entertaining value, games bring unity. It’s not good for people to bring partisan politics in games, If you see anyone doing it, you know they are not serious. Drunkards enjoy games and thieves suspend stealing for 90 minutes because sports is good therapy for our society,” he added.
Meanwhile, the meeting was also attended by State Minister for Sports, Charles Bakkabulindi, MPs Anite Among, Odonga Otto and other FUFA officials.
By John Dalton Kigozi