Alex Ssonko Guest Writer _

Hardly had the Uganda Premier League ended, than the fans started to debate the little prize money given to each of the 16 clubs in the league; and actually attributed the low standards of our football to this.

Before we severely and unrelentingly criticize FUFA, do we know how much the league sponsors inject in? Is all that money meant to be shared amongst the clubs? How about league management?

Prize money should never be the main goal for participating in the league. The most important thing is honour; winning the league or finishing in a higher position, irrespective of how much each club will pocket at the end of the season.

Clubs must develop a good fan base in order to profit from the gate collection during match days; and also from club merchandise.

If the clubs motivate their players so well, they'll attract sponsorship and cash in on good performances. All the clubs ought to borrow a leaf out of Arua Hills Sports Club’s book and reward their outstanding players at the end of every season.

Just a single season in the top flight league, but Arua Hills awarded their best player of the season Alfred Leku with a land title worth Ug. Shs. 5 million. This amount is equivalent to what the club got in prize money for finishing 5th in the league. They further rewarded the best signing, best young player and best goal of the season with Ug. Shs 500,000 each. This amount is equivalent to what Tooro United got in prize money from the Uganda Premier League. This is a very good motivation to the lads. Y'all shouldn't be surprised if they finish in a higher position next season.

Hmm! Some people were basing on this gesticulation by Arua Hills to consequently crucify FUFA for the meagre amounts given to clubs as prize money. We may not compare ourselves to the English, but we can pick a few lessons from them.

In the Carabao Cup, the prize money is just £200,000 and it's only given to the semi finalists: £25,000 each, the runner up £50,000 and the winner £100,000. This implies the other clubs which don't reach semi finals do not get even a penny! But still clubs participate, as big as they are.

Now Liverpool boast about their unmatched record in the league cup, having won it more times than any other club. Mark you; Mohamed Salah earns £200,000 salary a week. He could decide to pay the club just half of it to cover the prize money and save them all the expenses they incur from the start of the tournament, but this money cannot correlate with the prestige upon winning the trophy.

Now from the Champions League loss in Paris, the Carabao Cup and the FA Cup were all they had to present to the fans on the parade. What if they had not won the former? Or even both!

Even in the English Premier League itself, the Champions (Manchester City) bagged just £44m yet they spent £100m on buying a single player, Jack Grealish at the start of the season.

vipers sc 2021/2022 upl champions
Vipers Sports Club were officially crowned Champions of the 2021/22 Star Times Uganda Premier League season at St. Mary’s Stadium, Kitende. Courtesy Photo.

I'm not trying to absolve FUFA from the blame; for sure this money is little, and something has to be done considering the prize money in the other leagues of the East African countries like Kenya and Tanzania. But I'm saying, clubs themselves should make a nascent move for the development of Uganda's football, from there we can push FUFA to increase on the prize money whilst putting it in our minds that prize money can never be enough.

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