Action between West Nile and Acholi at crowded pece stadium, Gulu last Sunday

The FUFA Drum tournament has proven a huge item in Ugandan football just a year after its inception. With the excitement that comes with fans travels across the country to support their respective province teams, patriotism and sports tourism is guaranteed.

FUFA’s Justus Mugisha (L) and UTB’s Ajarova exchange MOUs on Thursday at FUFA House, Mengo

It is upon this background that Uganda Tourism Board (UTB) has come on board to sponsor the thrilling nation-wide competition that runs under the theme ‘celebrating ancestry’ with 16 Uganda provinces taking part on a home and away basis during group stage.

On Thursday, UTB and FUFA unveiled a one-year partnership to promote local (sports) tourism through football.

The Shs200m partnership will see UTB tourism promotional branding on the FUFA Drum tournament match days and the Uganda Cranes. Lilly Ajarova, the UTB Chief Executive Officer (CEO) told the press at FUFA House, Mengo that they were wowed by the number of fans that grace both Cranes and FUFA Drum matches.

The massive crowds at Pece stadium and West Nile beat Acholi province 1-0 last Sunday in the FUFA Drum (FUFA media)

“When I saw the video and pictures of the fans at Pece stadium in Gulu as Acholi hosted West Nile province, I could not believe that it was a local tournament. The passion was too much! We want such visiting crowds to visit places of tourism in areas where the games are hosted. Tourism is all about travels; people need accommodation, food, transport, drinks among other things which also brings money to locals,” noted Ajarova.

The Sunday match at Pece stadium earned hosts Acholi over Shs60m in gate collections while business in Gulu was booming before, during and after the match.

It is the second year running that UTB sponsors the FUFA Drum after extending Shs75m to the inaugural competition last year. Ajarova said that UTB has printed over 1000 Cranes jerseys to carry to Egypt during the AFCON tournament with massages of ‘visit Uganda’ and believes that both Ugandans and other football fans in Egypt will buy them to keep the massage moving.

The Cranes will also don such massages during team travels, according to Rogers Byamukama, the FUFA Drum tournament chairman. He said that there will be incentives given to local FUFA Drum fans who want to visit tourism places like reduced fees whilst others winning free tickets to visit the sites.

West Nile fans raid Acholi last Sunday

“The FUFA Drum is growing at unbelievable rate. We are happy that UTB has appreciated the fact that football connects people and promotes tourism. So many other partners are yearning to come on board but we must thank the government for the support extended to this tournament,” noted Byamukama.

FUFA 1stVice President Justus Mugisha and 2nd Vice President Darius Byamukama also graced the partnership unveiling. Mugoye said that the newly introduced Odilo tournament for Primary schools will also enable sports tourism to the teenage age.

The second edition of FUFA Drum tournament continues this Sunday with eight matches on match day five. Bunyoro hosting West Nile and Lango hosting Buganda are the headlining fixtures with massive crowds expected to fill up the respective hosting grounds. FUFA put aside Shs100m in prize money for the tournament that is meant to celebrate ancestry, rally patriotism, promote the game, search for new talent and sports tourism.  

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