KAMPALA: Mr. Godwin Kayangwe Arinaitwe is the new President of Uganda Rugby Union (URU) who says sport is a powerful tool in shaping culture well beyond the borders of the field. He considers rugby a sport that best embodies civility, respect, inclusivity, and toughness. He hopes the country will see more rugby played under his leadership.
Kayangwe who holds a Bachelors in Business Computing from Makerere University says he was introduced to rugby in 1993 at Kings College Budo, transitioning through school rugby to club rugby at Black Pirates Rugby Club. Having retired from active playing in 2003 due to work and educational commitments, he got back in September, 2009 and went into management of his former club, later going on to manage franchise rugby and the National Team.
An Old boy of Ntare School and King’s College Budo, Arinaitwe joined the URU Executive Committee (EXCOM) as member in 2013, and rose up to the rank of General Secretary in 2015. He says he has learnt to appreciate that rugby as a cultural influence is powerful and a religion in many aspects.
Much as rugby is sometimes a game of the privileged, who has the passion for the game notes it is an all-inclusive sport as well.
He says rugby is a sport that has the right amount of competitive aggression and civility and that to make a true testament of the above values in rugby, his four-year term as President of the URU shall focus on the following priority areas in order to develop the sport and continue to achieve milestones gained in and out country in high performance rugby by:
Boosting sport in schools and tertiary institutions. “We will secure the best possible future for sport in this country by improving the sporting opportunities for young people in schools, tertiary institutions and universities,” he says, adding that him and his staff will create a competitive school sports event to raise the profile of competitive sport in schools that should be climaxed with new national competition open to every school, tertiary institution and universities involved.
Sustainable growth, hope and belief
He wants to encourage a culture of school sports competition by setting up and publishing competitive school sport league tables and emphasising the importance of sport in secondary schools. Encourage holiday programs through competitions covering contact rugby and tag rugby for the totos (children). Creating support and infrastructure for sporting excellence. “We will ensure that the funding and governance of the sport are geared for continued excellence,” he says.
He says he will aim at securing more funding for sport by merchandising attractive rugby properties to corporate sponsors where they can get value for money. Branding the sport is key in attracting several revenue streams. “We all know the finance issue has to be addressed with utmost priority to get all programs running as desired,” he says.
Further he says he work to secure funding for grassroots sports facilities and provision for Get Into Rugby (GIR) development, growth of women’s rugby- create a development fund that stakeholders can utilise on subject to occasional audit procedures
But also he will create a leading organisational structure for sport by bringing together sporting authorities in the country like Ministry of Education and Sports, National Council of Sports, and District Municipalities and District local Government under one roof, while retaining their separate roles, and setting up a cross departmental ministerial working group on sport.
He says he will enable rugby fans to get involved in owning their clubs by reforming the sport governance arrangements to allow co-operative ownership models to be established by supporters. 3. Improving grass roots and community rugby. We will support community sport to help more people to get involved in sports at the grass roots level.
He says his helm at URU will support volunteer sports organisers by sweeping away the unnecessary bureaucracy that is deterring volunteers, and work with National Coaches and surrounding community school coaches, World rugby and Rugby Africa coaching system.
He says he will also develop a strong inter university league. “A stronger and more potent university league cutting across the country is key for gradually developing proper rugby structure,” he says, adding that under his leadership, more local sports fields and facilities will be created by engaging local municipalities to plan for sports facilities so that local people can create or protect space for sports facilities, and giving members rights to take over or buy existing facilities.
URU under his leadership will fund communities to use sport to promote better health by devolving public health budgets down to community level, enabling sport and exercise to be used as a means to promote better physical activity and health.
And ensure that championship competitions are held at regional levels and these competitions are used as a gateway for upcountry clubs to get promotion into the premiership competitions 4. Supporting the upcoming high-level sporting events. “We will work to secure the best major upcoming sporting events and ensure they deliver lasting benefits for the country as a whole.”
He has also pledged to: “Deliver safe and successful World rugby and Rugby Africa international tournament, and ensure that Uganda qualifies for Olympics and HSBC World Rugby series.”
Additionally, he is to embark on URU’s bids to host rugby Africa tournaments and ensure the successful hosting of the U20 Barthes Cup that has already been awarded to Uganda, April 2019
He intends to support more high performance rugby tournaments by working with the government and affiliated bodies. He will Support the governance structures at club and secretariat levels, and ensure that proper strategies are used to develop the sport at all levels. This will be by empowering clubs to hold annual Annual General Meetings where office bearers are elected at club level and matters pertaining proper governance of the clubs are discussed.
But also he says he will improve the governance at secretariat level with professionalism and ensure that information is properly communicated to clubs and affiliated bodies in a professional manner. We need an effective secretariat as empower a technical team for player selection in all competitions on performance base, where players are chosen from all competitions based on their availability and capabilities.
Kayangwe’s rugby- related activities in Uganda
Despite having a rich professional background, Kayangwe has over the years worked for the betterment rugby in the country for instance as outlined;
- Founder Uganda Rugby Fan Zone -An association that brings the fans of Uganda Rugby together to support and develop the game of rugby. Leveraging Client relationship Management with Uganda Rugby Union Sponsors
- Team Manager Pirates Rugby Football club and Rwenzori franchise in the Bamburi Super Series 2009-2011
- Uganda Rugby Cranes (National Team Manager 2011- 2013)
- Uganda Rugby Union (URU) Executive Member in charge of Sponsorship and Marketing 2013-2014
- Hon Secretary Uganda Rugby Union 2015- 2019- where he was in charge of the day to day operations of rugby in the country that are managed by the secretariat, implementing the strategic plan developed by the URU Executive Committee, coordinating all committees including Uganda Women’s Rugby, Uganda Schools Rugby, Technical committee, Uganda Medical society, Uganda Referees Association, as well as chairing the appeals committee and all EXCOM meetings.