When Aleksander Čeferin, President of the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA), made his inaugural visit to Uganda in March last year, scenes of euphoria greeted him at every turn. From Entebbe International Airport to Acholi Quarters, large crowds flocked to catch a glimpse of Čeferin, showcasing immense love from the Ugandan natives.
Pick Of The Tour: A high-profile match between UEFA Legends and the Parliament of Uganda is expected to not only excite but also collect proceeds for the Boy & Girl-Child. (Graphic/NBS Sport)
However, what struck him immediately was the prevailing abject poverty in many communities and the lack of proper infrastructure to harness the potential of football effectively in Uganda.
Čeferin consistently emphasized the transformative power of football in communities and societies, advocating its use as a force for good to uplift livelihoods and offer hope to the less privileged.
Importance of Sport
The Aliguma Foundation takes pride in extending a warm invitation and hosting Čeferin for a second, activity-filled visit scheduled from February 11-14. During his first two-day visit last year, he witnessed firsthand how sports contribute to improving the lives of vulnerable young people.
VVIP Welcome: Another high profile reception awaits UEFA boss Aleksander Čeferin wen he touches down at the Entebbe International Airport next month. (Photo/NBS Sport)
“African football has developed a lot, and the players are great, but you have a chronic problem with infrastructure, and we need coaches and academies We also need to work with children,” Čeferin told the local media after kicking-off the one-day soccer gala that was held to commemorate his visit to Acholi Quarters and Uganda back then.
Ritah Aliguma, the foundation's CEO, is spearheading the planning for this visit, during which Čeferin will make courtesy calls on high-profile personalities and state dignitaries. He will also spend considerable time in Acholi Quarters, home to approximately 30,000 residents.
Here, the UEFA Foundation for Children’s Sports for Resilience and Empowerment Project (SREP) is making a significant impact by constructing sports facilities, training coaches, and creating social and economic opportunities for at least 4,500 children and 1,000 caregivers.
This time, Čeferin arrives with a 21-man team of UEFA Legends, set to engage in a charity football match against the Parliament of Uganda Soccer Team at St. Mary’s Stadium, Kitende, on February 12—a highlight of the visit. The proceeds from the match will contribute to supporting the 'Boy & Girl-Child.'
Sharing The Love: Aliguma Foundation Founder Ritah Aliguma (2nd R), National Council of Sports chairman Ambrose Tashobya (R) and UEFA boss Aleksander Čeferin share a light moment during the latter's visit to Acholi Quarters last year in March. (Photo/AF Media)
The itinerary also includes a visit to the Joe Kigozi Academy, sightseeing, and exploring Uganda’s endowed natural sanctuaries. The visit culminates with a 214-km trip to Masindi at the Aliguma Foundation Sports & Empowerment Center (AFSEC) in Kinuuma Village – Bigando Parish, Miirya Sub-County.
Here, Čeferin will witness the foundation's significant impact across the country and officially commission the works of the training soccer pitch.
Force For Good: UEFA boss Aleksander Čeferin is hoping to continue using the popularity of the beautiful game of football as a game changer in the lives of less privileged. (Photo/AF Media)
Notably, the Aliguma Foundation received a grant from the UEFA Foundation for Children in 2019, from a global cash-pot totaling €4.9 million (approximately UGX 19.1 billion), as part of those academies picked for the Sports For Resilience & Empowerment Project (SREP). Last year, Aliguma Foundation secured a second grant, showcasing UEFA's satisfaction with the effective utilization and accountability of the initial funding.
This ongoing support highlights UEFA's commitment to leveraging football's popularity and influence as a force for good. Since its establishment in 2015, the UEFA Foundation has backed over 400 projects globally, providing equipment, grants, and assistance to the world's poorest and most vulnerable children as well as crisis-stricken regions.
Media Craze: A combo of media articles about UEFA president Čeferin first visit to Uganda. More of the same is anticipated with several activities lined-up. (Combo/AF Media)
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