Kampala, Uganda, November 19, 2020. The 2019 USPA Legendary award winner, Neko Muduse Ojala popularly known as Old Coach took time off to lecture Sportsmen and scribes at the award Gala in Serena Hotel.
In what is popularly known as “One word in volleyball”, the 74 year old lectured the congregation on the journey of Uganda’s volleyball and involvement of Sports Scribes since 1970’s.
He started off by eulogizing Popular Sports Journalist, Freddie Sekitto, then Andrew Patrick Luwandagga and Simon Peter Ekarot.
Sekitto was the founding Sports Editor of the New Vision, he edited sports for several other publications. Sekitto is however best known as the founder of the Uganda Sports Press Association (USPA) in 1970. Sekitto offered avenues for Volleyball to tap into the football fan base.
“In the 70’s volleyball players did gate collections at football matches in Nakivubo and earned 5% of the total collection, but above all we insisted that we play exhibition matches before the football game, and that’s how we navigated early times of publicity of the game. In 1980’ we got another journalist Andrew Patrick Luwandagga (Andropov) who gave us lots of mileage on then UTV after coming back from the Olympics games. Luwandagga died on October 22, 2016 having headed the now Uganda Broadcasting Corporations Sports department for decades”.
“In the 1990’ Simon Peter Ekarot came along, he loved Volleyball and also smiled his way to many Sports Journalists hearts and one time in July 1995, volleyball got the headlines in the Newspaper that was the highest for me from USPA then until this award today.” Ojala told a very attentive audience.
Simon Peter Ekarot, died together with 3 other Sports Writers Francis Batte, Kenneth Matovu, and Leo Kabunga, in a motor accident in Lugazi. The accident occurred on 27th August 2001 at about 1:40pm at Kikaula, about one kilometre away from Lugazi town, on the Jinja-Kampala highway.
They were reportedly returning from Jinja where they had a meeting of Uganda Sports Press Association (USPA) executive members.
Ojala also singled out a budding Sports journalist Faith Kiai from New Vision. “This young lady came to me looking for a “stench” she was told about me, I took her to meet my Aunt Faith Were, who is about 90 years. To find out where I got my stench.” Ojala said in his one word.
Faith Were, introduced Ojala to Volleyball in 1957 but also introduced many games besides leading Uganda to the first Netball World Cup in Trinidad & Tobago in 1974, Ojala dedicated the award to her (his Aunt).
The calm Ojala also threw a jibe at Sports Journalist who branded him ‘obnoxious’ when he jokingly stated, “I don’t know if after receiving this award I should stay obnoxious, seems it pays.” As he concluded his one word.