West Nile Players’ Association is an Umbrella that will bring together all active and ambitious football players originating from the talented region of West Nile.
The West Nile region, home to Uganda Premier League side Onduparaka FC has over the years produced some of the most exciting talents in Uganda.
Ceaser Okhuti, Vitalis Tabu, Rashid Toha, Gaddaffi Wahab, Filbert Obenchan are some of the current players who hail from the region.
However, with the current plight of Ugandan players especially former footballers, the association’s President and URA FC goalkeeper Alionzi Nafian argues that there is a need to unite the players and create a platform for them to excel professionally before they retire from the game.
“The mission of the association is to serve and unite all players of the West Nile region, while the vision is to support and inspire players to succeed professionally and help them live to their full potential,” Nafian said during an interview with West Nile TV.
“In the short run we want to have a formal representation of players in the region, many of us (players) can’t express ourselves well or even have access to leaders as individuals,” he added.
Currently, given the meagre resources available to the players and the busy schedules by many of the officials as they are still active players themselves means their work has been limited to online engagements, but Nafian is confident the engagements have proven to be significant to the members thus far.
“The yet to stand association has a WhatsApp group that acts as a platform to keep members (players) engaged with informative discussions such as maintaining fitness, preventing injuries and tips on how a player can become professional,” Nafian stated
“Our main target is to have all active players in this region join us because we want everyone on board without neglecting a single talent.”
Nafian stresses that the challenge currently lies with getting the required membership for the association to be registered as a full organization (SACCO) and to become operational.
However, they plan on registering the association and also bring technocrats on board who will include agents, scouts and coaches to help in the day to day running and management of affairs of the body.
And according to the goalkeeper, the priority now is to have the message across.
“We are still challenged by the numbers that allow an association’s existence, but we are working to have all the requirements to finalise the registration.”
“For now, I can say we are an informal group but soon we are moving towards becoming an official association.”
“We plan to have professionals as soon as possible like you (Otelul Vegas Adams former Onduparaka PRO) if you are interested and qualified to push the association to greater heights,” he said.
“We want to partner with sports agencies as soon as we get the best to help players know how best to market themselves and know how things are done professionally and develop as individuals as far as the knowledge of football.”
“In the long run, I don’t think we can handle this as players due to the tight schedules ahead of us. Most of us might go professional and that calls for management to step in though in the meantime it’s still fully managed by us.”
Nafian further echoed the goal of the association which entails the desire to ensure players have successful lives after hanging up their football boots, while he concluded by calling upon other players to make the effort and join the association for the advantages they will enjoy as members.
“We don’t want to be beggars at the end of our careers. We have seen some ex-internationals suffer after hanging boots and we wouldn’t want that to re-echo on any of us.”
“The foundation is always tough, but structures are very important for the progress of the association and that is why we want to have the right structures in place.”
“I want to encourage players from West Nile to come and join us. Many players are
still hesitant to join the association but together we can achieve more,” Nafian concluded.