Sports Betting Veteran and Cofounder of many betting companies in Uganda

COVID 19 as it is called is a virus that has hit, not only the gambling business, but has crippled all the countries economies, over whelmed health sectors and sports all over the world.

This time it is not a disease of the poor, malnourished, back ward people, but it has engulf all sorts of social walks of life, the rich, the poor, first world country and the third world countries .As it continues to weaken economies, it has brought massive impacts to sports too.

FUFA – Uganda football governing body has postponed all soccer activity in the country following the president directive to a curfew that later turned into lockdowns. The country is now in its second lock down, as the president said, that if you tell people, a lockdown will take 3 months, they may become violent and hard to control. He said give the lockdowns to people in installments of two weeks, 3 weeks until you get to your targeted three months. Can you imagine three months, to a Ugandan, at home, not working? With the countrys’ economy that depends 80 %on loans and grants to facilitate its economy, surely 3 months is a death sentence to us, as majority of people work on a day to day meal, if you know what it means. ‘You don’t work You don’t Eat’ . Hunger might kill us before COVID 19. This leaves our young, poorly managed sport in turters and at the mercy of how long this pandamic will take to pass.

Uganda having a semi professional league, the effects have hit hard not only the players but also the third parties that depend on the match day. That is the grounds man, the reporter, the people who sell refreshment at the stadium entrances.

Sentamu David, who sales water on match days at wankulukuku stadium home to Express F. C a football club says:

My family is to go hungry and there is nothing I can do. I used to sales 20 boxes of water every match day and make profit of 40.000 shs(11 Dollars) to feed my family and educate my kids but now I have nothing. I have eaten my capital for the business and am at the mercy of the government now to provide me food.

Even the posho and beans promised by government has not been distributed in the area he stays in. He rents in the suburbs of Wankulukuku, with a wife and 3 kids. He is one of the many Ugandans that have depended on sports and the activities that come with it.

Our average, a football player who earns salary less than 1, 000, 000 shs (273 dollars) per month, less of match allowances, is already feeling the pinch. Not like in Europe where players being encouraged or they are asking for pay cuts, national governing bodies giving consessions to make sure that non playing stuff salaries are not cut or they don’t loss there jobs, here the uncertainty is obviously visible. The player will not be able to get the 273 dollars of salary any time soon or never, not putting in consideration that some players have arrears not paid for 3 months now. Clubs where already crumbling before COVID 19, like Toro F.C. lost it coach and 5 players in the middle of the league with claims of unpaid dues by the club to stuff and players.

I read from one article in dailymail news, that Kyilian Mbappe’, a PSG football player buy out clause valuation before Corona virus pandemic was around 300 millions euros, but now or after COVID 19, he may have dropped to 40 million euro valuation. As the most televised European leagues are put under the microscope and given a reality check of the true valuation of sport, in relation to actual cost of a player, the irony is Africa and Uganda in particular, looks at sport being sent back to the stone age, where players will soon ask for food hand outs from well wishers or government food intervention. Some will say it is due to poor saving norms of African but what could you save when what you actually earn is not enough for you and your immediate family. Born in poverty and leaving in extended family setup, where the young have to care for the old and relatives, is not doing justice to the ready strained pockets of our sports players.

After COVID 19, as governments depends on hand outs to facilitate our economies, for sports we shall be appealing to well wishers to support our Game. The few sports activities that may survive will struggle to cope with the day to day demands of the sport. As already witnessed in Mexico:

The football federation has been forced to suspend all low division promotions for the next 5 years.

This poses a question, what will happen to sports in the poorest economies where sports is not regard as priority?

Though the good out of this COVID 19 error, e-sport electronic games have emerged. Who knew that at one point Betway,one of the leaders in sports betting, would be solely selling elecrionic sport(football)and promoting virtual sports.other local companies are following suit in Uganda.

Sports may also go back to being a collective responsibility rather than individual responsibility, where companies or individual had taken sport which originally was a right and joy for everyone and commercialised it for their own benefits killing the true value of it in the long run. I pray this brings back the sanity to the sport and the spirit on which our sports ancestors meant it to be.

#Stayhome Staysafe#

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