By Isaac Mutema
A short while ago, we launched a campaign to highlight the hitherto renowned soccer pitches many of which have since been traded for money. We started off the campaign with two pitches among such pitches.
One is still intact. It’s known as Kataka(bare soil) playground. It is located at Mulago in Kawempe Division. Ibrahim Ssekagya and Majid Musisi are among many of our soccer legends who cut their teeth at Kataka.
Sekagya is the coaching boss at the New York’s Red Bull soccer outfit. He was appointed to that post only recently. Majid Musisi was the first Ugandan to play professional football at France’s Stade Rennes.
The man from the slums of Bwaise pulled off such an enviable feat despite his lowly education and because of his natural talent which had been nurtured there at Kataka.
The second pitch is no more. It belongs currently to one of the notorious land grabbers in town. The government’s owned Kololo Senior Secondary School had owned the pitch since the 1960’s.
Our colonial masters had allocated the land to the public school for exclusive use as a sports ground.
ALSO READ: Ibrahim Sekaggya, Majid Musisi Et Cetera And The Folly Of Exchanging Our Football Pitches For Mere Pieces Of Silver
Yet, we would wake up just a few years back to learn with utter shock that the current government had, in its wisdom, traded the facility for a few pieces of silver!
But, and just as we told you last time, Kololo SSS used to be a soccer power house in the past on account of this pitch.
If you recall very well what we wrote, the noticeable products of that playground are Jackson Mayanja, Robert Aloro and Cranes defender turned Monitor sports editor, Rashid Mudin.
Yet, at the same time as one is still trying to handle kantolooze (vertigo) brought on by loss of the said vitally nursery bed for sports talents, alas, one is again gripped with fresh kantolooze after learning of a similar loss in Kasangati.
Let us tell you. The youths in Kasangati nursing the dream of turning out as soccer stars in future, have a reason to worry. One of the very few soccer pitches there has since been sacrificed at the altar of real estate development.
Kabaka Ronald Muwenda Mutebi II owns the land which was holding the pitch. The land is next to the magistrates’ court, the prison and the police station in Kasangati.
The pitch is no more. The King has since leased the land to tycoon Hajj Mutaasa Kafeero of the Hotel Triangle Fame. In the deal, Mutaasa is supposed to erect a storied commercial building for the King in exchange for the pitch.
The brown-faced tycoon has been meeting his part of the bargain. The King’s commercial building which lies next to the Magistrate’s court is a beauty to watch.
The management of Equity Bank has since moved its branch in Kasangati to the two-storied building. Meantime, Mutaasa is using the land for the pitch to erect a gigantic shopping mall.
Had it been not for Coronavirus which struck the tycoon, necessitating his airlifting to Nairobi for specialized treatment, Mutaasa would have completed the job by now.
But as Mutaasa gladly goes about erecting on the pitch, the youths and sports lovers are themselves watching somewhere with both a sense of disillusionment and loss.
They are right. Who knows, the pitch which is now no more, would have ended up one day producing a replica of Majid Musisi and or even Ibrahim Sekagya for the benefit of themselves and the country at large.
Not only has the pitch been a nursery bed for sports personalities, but has been also assisting a great deal to keep the youths away from crime and off drugs besides preventing the diseases caused by idleness.
Crucially, the bosses of the Kasangati prison were making use of the pitch to offer sports skills to the remand prisoners.
The above reformatory exercise was crucial in the sense that the bosses of the prison were looking at turning the prisoners into useful citizens ahead of releasing them back into society.
The same is true in case of schools in the locality which were using the facility to offer sports skills to the learners. Ask any medical personality, he or she is going to be able to tell you that sports sharpens the brain of the learner.
In any case, don’t they say that work without play made some guy a dull guy! Stay around this website, folks. We have gone on the prowl. When we return back, we are going to bring to you more of the stories.