By Alex Ssonko www.sportznow.ug Guest writer
For years, I've always been averse to the idea of using Super League stars in the Uganda Senior Secondary Schools Association _ USSSA Boys’ Football Championship, and my argument is basically to give an opportunity to new footballers to show their talents.
Nurturing talents is the ultimate goal of these tournaments; but to me, the schools using Super League players are like football clubs where winning honors at any cost has become the Holy Grail.
My fret was justified in the just concluded CAF African Schools Championship held at FUFA Technical Center, Njeru. In the category of boys' football, we had 3 out of the four schools that featured in the USSSA semi finals in Arua earlier on in April, that is to say; Kibuli S S, Buddo S S and St. Mary's Kitende.
The performance of these schools in the tournament leaves much to be desired. With the kind of football they displayed in Arua just three months ago, how is it possible that school like Buddo and Kibuli couldn't win even a single match?!!
The answer is artlessly one: these schools do whatever it takes to look for good players to boost their teams and compete favorably in the USSSA Championships. They hardly mind about grooming these players. So, they had scantiness of good players to represent them at this inaugural tournament since they required young players between 12 and 15 years of age.
If you're to make research about the players who represent those big schools in the USSSA Championships, you can be surprised to find that very few of them in A' Level started their post primary education ( Senior One) in those respective schools.
Being the big schools revered by almost everyone, they have all the indispensable resources needed by these kids to have their talents flourish. Therefore, it would be the best for them if they are scouted as early as Senior One. Looking for already established players cannot add much to Uganda's football; it only benefits the school at that particular time.
I rack my brains but still fail to find a convincing answer as to why a school would find it hard to give a sports bursary to a 13 year old boy in Senior One just because he won't represent that school in USSSA Championship at that age, but instead looks for a 16 or 17 year old whose talent was groomed from somewhere else.
If we are to develop our football, it should be within the school setting. That's why even when the CAF President, Dr. Patrice Motsepe got the idea of improving grassroots football, he went to schools. He understands that the young children are in the schools at that age; otherwise he would look for football academies.
I beseech our big schools to embrace the idea of developing grassroots football, after all our education system encourages the same through the Co-Curricular activities.
MAIN PHOTO: Royal Giants High School, winners of the first edition of the CAF African Schools Championship. They defeated Dynamic SS 2-0 in the final. PHOTO CREDIT: FUFA MEDIA.