How Bugisu Region Lives In Shadows of Past Sports Glories

By Aaron Okotel

(The writer is a journalist and football academy developer in Mbale)




For the last 9 years, no team from the Bugisu sub region has ever emerged in any top flight sports competition in the country. That’s how much the region has been a sleeping giant.


If anyone wants to fully understand the joy of hosting a top flight game, one simply needs to study the pride from our neighbors, Busoga, Teso and Bukedi sub regions.


Take an example of the supremacy Busoga is enjoying with four football teams for next season 2023/2024 that will compete in the Uganda premier league( Gaddafi FC, Busoga United, Bul FC).


The city of Jinja has equally made a name in rugby with two premier league teams ( Jinja Hippos and Walukuba Barbarians although the former was last season relegated from the national rugby sevens), as if that is not enough, Orange Block Busters volleyball club (OBB) from Iganga plays in the National Volleyball League.


Teso sub region has also had a fair share of top flight sports, sadly, Olila high school was last season relegated to the lower tier of the FUFA women’s super league, the Iteso however still have Soroti city CC to brag about, they are the national women’s twenty20 cricket champions after edging wonderers in the 2023 finals.


Busia has a top tier team in the Uganda national netball league, Busia Greater Lions Netball club.


On the contrary, Elgon Doves netball club almost hoisted the Bugisu flag in the Netball league in 2020, the dream however shattered due to lack of finances.


CRO football club is then the last team from Mbale to play in the national league, unfortunately relegated in 2014 now defunct. Kataka’s 2022 bad loss to Kyetume will for a couple of years be a hurting memory where Mbale’s Kataka only needed a point at home to earn promotion to the Uganda premier league, they lost 3-2 where Kyetume subsequently won promotion to the Uganda Premier League.


It’s been over 30 years since the famous grounds of Mbale sports club last hosted a competitive rugby game in the top league, Mbale Elephants the regions long time representatives in the second division have tried to restore the lost glory in vain. The Elgon Wolves had seemed a surprise package this year to push us back to the Nile Special Premiership, they lost on the final pay offs against the Kitante Eagles.


One my wonder why am critical on the sports development in the region; this is because Mbale and Bugisu at large has for long been a sports power house that is supposed to be challenging in national competitions: You can’t talk about Uganda’s football and not have a place for Gangama who later turned to be Mbale heroes football club, where are they now?


Bugisu is still lucky to have facilities like the Mbale Stadium, the Mbale sports club golf and rugby fields, the quality basketball courts in Mbale SS etc. I believe now is the time to look at things in a bigger picture, while clubs in other regions are busy enjoying unity of purpose, our clubs here are busy fighting each other, lack of unity may for a couple of more years hinder our success in top tier competitions.


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