Over the years, lovers of the Ugandan game have witnessed bizarre refereeing decisions made by match day officials. Fans and club administrators went from complaining to getting used to the norm since the FA was not tackling the issue with a strong hand mainly due to the fact that it owed too much to the Referees’ Association in match officiation arrears.
A flashback to last season, referees’ incompetence cost many teams a grip at the top of the log or a chance to remain in the league with Proline’s Mujib Kasule claiming it was his side which was most affected and in turn relegated at the end of the season.
As the the season rolled into its final stages, every Game-week, a complaint raised from Mbarara City’s games for example versus Proline, KCCA and SC Villa: the opponents were always not satisfied with how certain decisions went Mbarara City’s way, but the concerned bodies from the Referees’ Disciplinary Committee to the Committee set up by the FA to oversee referee performances towards the end of the season all had tomatoes in their eyes.
It’s now a public secret that there was a lot of unlawful engagements between club officials and referees as curtains folded last season because there was a lot to fight for up to the final match day.
The 2018/19 Uganda Premier League Season started on a high note and with high expectations from both ends with the FA expecting the clubs to control their fans and players and the clubs expecting the FA to name match day officials up-to the challenge and momentum of the respective games.
With seven Game-weeks gone, the clubs have have kept their part of the promise, but refereeing woes continue to rock the top division with controversial goals given like those that supposedly were offside or didn’t cross the line. The climax of these controversies being the Vipers SC goal verse Express FC at Muteesa II Stadium. The result led to the suspension of match day officials Kirangwa Ronald, Kakembo Samuel and Lydia Wanyama for five years, three years and six months respectively.
The suspension of these officials sparked different opinions from different stakeholders in Ugandan football with many saying the FA’s quick response to the incident and punishment to the officials was just another case of selective punishment.
These three officials were crucified on the cross for not only their crimes, but also the crimes of the whole referee fraternity to the Ugandan game. On many occasions in the past five years referees have taken it into their own hands to influence the final results of the game for reasons known to only them and other perpetrators of such actions and still walked away without any disciplinary action against them.
Many have pointed out the Robert Donney incident in the 2014/15 Uganda Cup final between SC Villa and KCCA where calamitous refereeing led to the premature end of the game. His poor refereeing led to ugly scenes at Kyamate Sports Complex with fans rioting, invited guests looking on in amusement and Police intervention to cool down the charging fans of either teams.
Earlier before that appointment, Donney had simultaneously been a subject of poor refereeing in the FUFA Big League but he came out without any caution and was awarded FUFA Big League Referee of that season.
In relation to the above punishments, Donney and others (not cited in this article) should not be allowed to stand near a football pitch.
Author: Katende Basajjabaka
Katende writes about sports and occasionally technology.