By: ERIAS KAYONDO
The FUFA juniors’ league is a league for players under the age of 17. It was started in the 2014/2015 season and was that year won by Kampala Junior Team who beat Synergy fc junior team in the finals played at Lugogo. In this league ,when a team wins with a margin of 2 or more goals it’s awarded with 4 points. For example, when a game ends with scores 2:4 the winner is awarded with 4 points. The essence of this is to create more competition for strikers and to make them even more hungry for goals.
This system has indeed paid off as all the teams create many scoring opportunities as a way of securing more points. As a result , this year players like Anaku Sadat of KCCA fc Junior Team and Massa Fred of Kirinnya Jinja ss have appeared on the scoring sheet for almost all the games they played. Hence, making the league more competitive.
Because of the importance and relevance of this league, FUFA appointed an officer in charge of the development of youth football and Mr. Mutyaba Bashir has surely not disappointed in executing the duties that were accorded to him by his bosses as he has always worked tirelessly to see this league a success.
In the 2015/2016 season, it became a pre -licensing requirement for every club in the Uganda Premier League to have a junior team within its structure playing in the juniors’ league. The under 17 league also attracted 16 teams all affiliated to respective senior teams in the main stream league.
The 16 teams were pooled into two groups of eight teams each. These were, the Treble group and the Hatrick group. Under this arrangement the leaders of both groups would meet for the final game. At the end of the season the final was played between KCCA Junior Team and Vipers Junior Team where the later emerged the winner in penalties at Kawempe Muslim SS grounds.
This same arrangement has continued up to date with leaders of the Treble group playing the finals against those of the Hatrick group. The season ending 2016/2017 was launched in style at Phillip Omondi Stadium Lugogo on Friday the 23rd of September 2017 under the FIFA/FUFA youth project through which FIFA extends support to its member associations which organise and promote domestic leagues for the youths.
The finals were later played in Jinja between KCCA Junior Team and Soana Junior Team and the later emerged victors on penalties. This season has had many outstanding players and notable among them are Lwanga Charles (SC Villa), Anaku Sadat (KCCA), Ddamulira Hakim (Soana), Ivan Asaba (KCCA), Massa Fred (Kirinya Jinja SS), Twalibu Michu (Express) Aprem Martin (Vipers), Kasumba Reagan (KCCA), Asiimwe Ashraf “Fadiga” (Vipers) , Express’ Kaliba Levy ( the youngest of the lot) and many more.
Since it’s inception three years ago, the FUFA Juniors’ League has paid off to the main stream league with a number of its graduates taking toll on the performance of their senior teams. These include Muhammad Shaban (Onduparaka), Allan Okello (KCCA), Tibita Hamis (BUL), Tumwesigye Frank (Vipers), Mutanda Bashir (Vipers), Jungu Methodius (Bright Stars) among others.
“It is clear indication that FIFA and FUFA have continued to support football development at youth level” said FUFA Technical Director Lubowa.
Its our prayer that this initiative be supported more corporate companies and sponsors join in to support the cause, Parents need to be sensitized so that they release the boys on time for training and long journeyed matches. We believe the future of Ugandan football lies in the grassroot.