Updated: Oct 29, 2021
Most governments around the world, including Uganda, closed schools and put a halt on social gatherings, primarily sporting activities, in an attempt to contain the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Since the back-end of 2019, there hasn’t been any sporting action until recently when President Yoweri Museveni relaxed the restrictions on sporting activities albeit under strict Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) after a 42-day lockdown.
Certified Kit. The assorted equipment from UEFA Foundation of Children after being unwrapped.
During the pandemic proper, everything was on a standstill. The schools remain closed with the governments launching distance learning programs as a way of beginning to plan for recovery, a phase that involves much more than reopening the gates and readmitting students.
Good thing is that the return to sports has been more fast-tracked and rather than stay home and indulge in ‘crime’ or less desired activities like drug abuse, theft and child labour among others, the children and youth of slum areas like Acholi Quarters and those from rural areas in Masindi are back on the fields of play to hone their talents at a tender age.
And as sports, particularly soccer, slowly returns in full-throttle style, the news couldn’t have come any better for Aliguma Foundation after receiving a dispatch of assorted soccer equipment and kit from the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) Foundation For Children.
The dispatch comprising of 100 soccer balls, four pairs of ball nets, 24 sets of bibs, two goals, two whistles and 40 flat cones arrived in September, forthwith got cleared as a donation and was received with ululating cheers from two stables of Aliguma Foundation in Acholi Quarters and Kinuma Village – Bigando Parish, Miirya Sub-County in Masindi District.
Time To Play: The children and youth indulge in an improvised game after receiving the balls.
Tools of work
“We use sports to address challenges in communities and this package couldn’t have been anymore timely than now as we look to emerge out of the tough pandemic situation,” disclosed Ritah Aliguma, the foundation’s CEO.
“UEFA Foundation For Children know what we do and how we make it work and that’s why they sent balls, cones and kits among others because these are the tools of our work.”
The aura of excitement couldn’t be held back by the children and youth on unwrapping the latest dispatch but Aliguma revealed that the action proper will only start once the pitches (Acholi Quarters & Kinuma) are ready for action.
“Once the pitches are ready for use, we will get rolling. Acholi Quarters already have their designated tournaments and in Masindi we will start community football after the elders make teams. We shall also solicit and provide FUFA-sanctioned coaches as a start-up," disclosed Aliguma.
Catch Me If You Can: A young boy runs off to the victory lane amidst applause from his teammates during the improvised game.
Works on the two pitches are in full gear with the grass-planting phase successfully finished in the Kireka-Banda-based Acholi Quarters Playground and ground-levelling phase done and dusted in Masindi.