Uganda's URA FC buys taxis for players - to earn more cash

By Andrew Jackson Oryada and Stephen FottrellBBC Sport
URA FC players' 'boda boda' bikes
Club chairman Ali Ssekatawa delivered the bikes on Thursday

Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) FC - one of the country's biggest clubs - have encouraged their players to earn extra cash, by helping them to get into the lucrative motorcycle taxi business.

URA are helping the club's players to buy motorbikes, commonly known as boda bodas, which are widely used by businesses in Uganda to transport people and luggage.

With the cost of living continuing to rise in the Ugandan capital Kampala, club chairman Ali Ssekatawa told BBC Sport they no longer want their players to strictly rely on the income they get from playing football.

The club's management has, however, asked the players to hire riders and not to ride the motorbikes themselves, due to the risk involved.

There are over 100,000 boda boda taxis operating in Kampala, Uganda

"We are looking at a way of having a self-sustaining system and when our staff is sorted they can play well," Ssekatawa said.

URA FC are one of the most popular Uganda Premier League sides and have represented the East African country in the Caf Champions League and Confederation Cup competitions - Africa's biggest continental club competitions.

The numbers of boda bodas have recently ballooned in Kampala, but so have the number of accidents - rising eight-fold in the past eight years, with businesses looking at safer ways of operating the bikes.

Earlier this year URA FC's commissioner Doris Akol promised they would help the players with an alternative money-making venture and club chairman Ssekatawa delivered 17 motorbikes to the players at the club's training ground on Thursday.

Long-serving defender and Uganda international Simeon Masaba said he favoured the initiative, as it will help the players to earn extra income for their families.

'Boda boda"' riders in Nairobi, Kenya, 27 November, 2015
Boda boda motorbikes are a popular form of transport in Uganda and neighbouring Kenya

"The club will be deducting our pay for some months so that we pay the percentage for the [running of the] motorbikes," Masaba said.

The defender added that although the motorbike business is risky, with thieves targeting the boda bodas, he thinks if managed well it could make a good small business for the URA footballers.

"This is a good move by the club and most of us are happy about it," striker Robert Ssentongo added.

Team coach Kefa Kisaala also received one of the bikes and said he was happy with the move.

However, attacking midfielder Saidi Kyeyune, said he did not agree with the initiative as he thinks it will be difficult to manage.

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