About 5 years ago, schools went on a spree to start their own football school leagues to bring themselves together as a socializing mechanism and to help build a competitive landscape among teams.
Old boys and girls from different schools came together to start their own leagues with the most notable being St. Mary’s College Kisubi (SMACK), Ntare School, Namilyango College (NGO), Kings College Budo, Ndejje, Seeta High School among many others.
These leagues were just a meeting program that these old students started but with time, they have grown and become even bigger than most of them ever imagined.
How are School Leagues doing better than Uganda Premier League?
One of the most important things to note is that these school leagues started off as fun activities for interaction and socializing but as they grew along the way, they realized that they could do more than they are currently doing.
As we speak, the Namilyango College league or the NGO league as they prefer to be labelled, is currently supporting students who don’t have enough to cater for school fees among other things that one may need to complete school.
So what have the School Leagues done differently?
They’re well organised
For starters, the school leagues have managed to be very organised with structures that are very much respected unlike those of their counterparts which are supposed to be way better.
Better branding and marketing
When it comes to the aspect of branding, the school leagues have done a better job than the Uganda Premier League and have up to date websites including well managed social media platforms that always maintain constant updates.
Part of the work that they have done is also to profile players, what this does is to make people get acquainted with the players in the league. I can’t say the same for the Uganda Premier League though currently Kampala City Council Authority Football Club (KCCA FC), Sports Club Villa, Uganda Revenue Authority Football club are now doing a good job as well.
More sponsorship deals
With their organization and attention to proper branding, the school leagues have realized a great deal in numbers of fans who come to watch the games, but most importantly, they have attracted a great number of corporate companies that are sponsoring the leagues.
One would have expected that the school leagues would have been benefiting from the Federation of Uganda Football Association (FUFA) but it seems they will now need to pick a leaf from the school leagues.
The football clubs in the school leagues are also starting to get sponsorship deals which is a clear sign that companies want to work with them yet we are still seeing numerous clubs in Ugandan football going through seasons without a shirt sponsor.
As it all stands at the moment, the school leagues are making such huge strides in attracting the big money spenders while the national league operatives are still in slumber.
An example of the success can be picked from the NGO league who have now reached as far as starting a rugby league of their own which shows growth.
What can FUFA and UPL do better?
So, FUFA together with UPL and clubs need to pick up on some aspects of running the league from the school football league. I mean, they even have match day balls with well branded logos which I can’t say for the Uganda Premier League.
Shouldn’t the league be looking into reaching a partnership with football manufacturers like PUMA, Nike, Adidas among others? It may be a risky venture but then again, if you want to rip big then you must invest to attract more investors. It is a business after all and sponsors need to see purpose and intent from the leagues.
Ugandan clubs playing in the elite league that is, Uganda Premier League can start by putting focus on branding themselves and their players.
Well up to date social media pages, player profiles, have 1 minute videos where a player talks about an up coming game including coaches too. Have better camera equipment to cover the games so as to attract investors.
The Uganda Premier League major social media accounts are well known for delivering updates to fans after close to 24 to 48 hours. Something they should really work on fixing soon.
Author: Moses Echodu
Moses is a freelance writer for Newslibre and Programs Manager at the Craft Silicon Foundation. He loves writing about sports, politics and news around the globe and Inspiring new young people!!