Ugandan clubs growing through the sale of players.
Location: Kampala, Uganda
In the past decade, Ugandan Clubs were successful in that they enjoyed a big fan base and reached far on the continent. In 1992, Ugandan Record League winners, SC Vila, reached the Africa Club Championships final, now known as the CAF Champions League.
Three years later, Express FC made the CAF Champions League semi-final where Tunisian side, Esperence, ended their amazing run.
City side, Kampala City Council (KCC FC), reached the 1997, CAF Cup semifinals.
Now, with local clubs not enjoying continental success any more, and with a dwindling fan base, yet they need to survive, they have now taken the trend of acting as feeder clubs for mostly South African and North African Clubs. These clubs are using the revenue from the sale of their star players to build club structures, pay allowances as well as compete favourably, since soccer in Uganda is not that Lucrative.
KCC FC, last year earned US$50,000, an equivalent of 100 million Uganda shillings, through the sale of Brian Umony to South African Premier League side, Super Sport United. Umony joined another Ugandan goalkeeper, Denis Onyango, who had left SC Villa a couple of years earlier.
Umony joins a host of Ugandan players who ply their trade in the Premier League in South Africa.
KCC has now benefited from the sale of Ibrahim Sekajja, who now turns out for Austrian League Champions Red Bulls Salzburg. KCC’s most recent benefit, is the move of Defender Asuman Buyinza to the Vietnamese Premier League side Da Nang for 100 million shillings. The player will also earn US$30,000 over two years, which is way more than the US$50 a week he was being paid at KCC FC. Da Nang, hopes to sell Buyinza to Primera Liga’s Athletico Madrid, for US$250,000.
However, the sale of players means the quality of the side is affected, and since four senior players left, KCC have drawn six games in a row. A KCC official, Jasper Makmot, explains the challenges they face when they let the players go.
Ugandan Youngsters are also inspired by the move and wish one day to make it big and earn a living through soccer. I spoke to a young KCC FC player, Juma Senyondo.
Of course, as players leave for abroad, the club loses in quality but gains commercially, and the cycle continues as they nurture more players.