Arua Hill FC – beacon of hope in UgandaThomas Kwenaite
By Andile and Mandla Dladla
There is a football club in East Africa making waves in Ugandan football and few people are aware that the name behind Arua Hill SC comes from the geographical location of where the club is located.
When visiting Uganda, the easiest way to not get lost is to ask where is the Arua hill located which is well known across the country and chances are that most people will be able to direct you.
The chairman is currently constructing a world class stadium that is just a few metres away from the famous hill. He felt that it was simply important to construct the stadium at the same place where the club is located and where the community which support the club is based.
The club is campaigning in the lower division of Ugandan football but everybody is determined and in fact confident that the team would be promoted to the Premier League where the chairman has made it known that funds are available to to ensure they achieve this objective.
Assistant coach Jose Kiwa says one of the good things about the chairman is that he was born in Arua and has seen a lot of talent over the years in the region, some of them blossoming unseen and their talents never recognised.
“The aim of the chairman is to develop and nurture these kids and then release them for the international market,” said Kiwa.
“Arua Hill is not only a football team but it is a sports club. The focus is also on developing kids to excel in other sporting codes like where we have boxing and looking to add more disciplines to the list by making sure that we are able to produce the best athletes worldwide.
“I have signed a two year contract and what attracted me to this project was the amazing talent in the region as this area is where most of the biggest players of Ugandan football have been discovered over the years with some of them currently playing in the premier league in the country.
“The ambition of the chairman and everyone involved as it is only the second club in Uganda to have its own stadium even though it is still under construction but all these key factors are what brought me to such a good working environment”.
The Ugandan league is still growing and there isn’t much money. For a team to survive they need to promote players from the development ranks and sell so that they get revenue to sustain and continue running their respective teams.
“What is also interesting to note about our club is that when we are in the process of signing a player we involve the technical team to be part of everything because as a developing league we rely on information given to us by individuals on that particular player and it’s not like in countries such as South Africa where you have data and player statistics plus well known talent scouts who are experienced and have access to get all information before a player can be signed. So we rely on basic statistics and that is why everyone gets involved in the process.
“A mixture of youth and experience creates a good balance for us as we have tried and tested players who assist us as coaches in making our jobs easier by encouraging the younger players in the squad to be able to deliver under pressure as the league is very demanding.
“The results are showing as we currently sit at the top of the league table having played six games and sitting on 12 points. We would also like to have foreign players in Uganda but at the moment it is very complicated.
“We have one Kenyan player in our team but has not seen action as yet. The challenge is with the International Transfer Certificate( ITC ) which we have not yet received from his last club and so we don’t do so much of foreign signings but we would love to change things.”
Although the Covid-19 pandemic has caused many countries to halt their leagues, Kiwa explains that following strict health protocols and rules as prescribed by the government, they have been able to resume playing, albeit on a small scale.