Featured Image: Mathias Kiwanuka playing for New York Giants recently. Courtesy photo
American football is the most popular sport in the United States and Canada. It is commonly known as football in those countries, and its a a team sport played by two teams of eleven players on a rectangular field with goalposts at each end. As u have already guessed, it originated from Football and Rugby.
In Uganda, it’s Athletics, Netball and Boxing that has registered some good success at the World Stage but it still remains a football mad country. Despite registering little success in the sport, Football (read soccer for now) takes the lion’s share in terms of fan base, media coverage and not to mention Government funding.
American Football is already seeking for grounds in Uganda. The sport is just days old in the country as it was on February 7, 2019 when it was officially recognised by National Council of Sports – a sports governing body in Uganda.
The discipline has got an association – American Football Federation of Uganda (AMFFU) with a committee led by a young and ambitious President Mr. Okeng Steven George.
On Monday (April 8), the Federation held a National Coaches Clinic that is running till April 12th and the organisers believe that this will go an extra mile in developing the sport in the Country.
NCS acting General Secretary Dr. Patrick Bernard Ogwel graced the opening day of the Clinic which was held at Nob View Hotel in Ntinda where he pledged on behalf of government to support the new sport.
“As government, we embrace all sport which promote human right and development,” Ogwel said. “We are privileged to embrace another pathway.”
“There are many Ugandans that are very passionate about the sport and I thank our partners from US who have conducted the training.”
Ogwel added that the Sport is physical and it will surely fit the nature of Ugandans. He however added that the trainers from US should also go an extra mile to help the country with providing the necessary playing equipment.
About 70 participants (coaches and referees) were planned for this Clinic. On Wednesday, the actual demonstrations will be held at Kyambogo and it is expected that later this year, probably in September, a National team will already be in place.
“We are targeting different schools, about six which we will be visiting for an outreach of this sport,” noted President Okeng.
“We are trying to spread the sport. Its a sequency of time and we will want to make more noise about this.”
Amady Chukwuemeka the President of American Football in Nigeria, Coach Tony Cichoke and Chris Yoder are the instructors for the ongoing clinic.
National Football League (NFL) held in US is the highest professional level of American football in the world.
Currently, NFL houses 13 African players from Cameroon, Liberia, Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa and Kenya.
Mathias Kiwanuka, US born but Ugandan by decency – is a grandson of Benedicto Kiwanuka, the first Prime Minister of Uganda. Played in NFL for New York Giants and earned two super bowl rings. On July 25, 2006, he signed a five-year $10 million contract with $5 million guaranteed!
It is from this background that there is hope that Uganda can produce talents for NFL. What about seeing your country mate in a Super Bowl game? Dreams remain valid. There is hope, there is chance.