By Katondwaci Marvin
Since the formation of the Uganda Super league in 1968 local fans have had to wait for 43 years to have a realistic shot at professionalizing the game. I am not talking about the Uganda Super league (USL) taking over the day to running of the league, but the presence of Gary Rothbone at Kampala Serena Hotel. Local football stands to reap big in the next five years after South African-based Pay TV SuperSport sealed a Shs12b broadcast deal with the Ecobank Super League.
“This is a new era for Ugandan football. The Ugandan league has become a great part of world football and we are proud to be investing in one of the most exciting leagues on the continent. It justifies our long term ambition and that is to ensure that African football takes over from European football,” Gary Rothbone the Head of Super Sport Africa said during the press briefing.
The broadcasting deal is expected to attract interest from the country’s corporate sector, with several players already reported to be seeking sponsorship for the competition. Uganda Cranes head Coach bobby Williamson was excited about the deal and He said “ This has been the only missing piece in the puzzle, once such deals continue coming in this will be reflected on the pitch and in the long run the players and fans are the biggest beneficiaries. He added “This will prevent Many players for deserting their country as they seek for greener pastures”
However many Ugandan fans who have had their share of disappointments when it comes to sports deals were still skeptical If this deal was really real. However Charles Hamya the general manager of Multichoice Uganda has assured all Ugandans that they will be around for the 5 years Supersport has agreed with the USL.
“We promise to deliver good production of the local football games on Super Sport channels. This is going to raise the profile of the sport in the whole region and Uganda in Particular. We are going to engage in training of local journalists who will commentate on the live and recorded matches, in the long run we intend to make sure all the prduction staff are locals though at the start we shall bring in experts form different African countries. we shall also engage in training potentialy talented Ugandans who can take up different roles.
Between 18 and 20 match-weeks will be broadcast per season, with double-headers given prominence.
Rathbone said match highlights will be provided to local TV stations, with one live game, and another delayed, on the national broadcaster. From this day no more excuses for the USL and it’s board members if they fail this time in thier bid to get the sport proffesionalised.