SAUNA SPORTS FESTIVAL 2024

Nothing quite compares to the excitement of live sports or the experience of being part of a sports festival. This is precisely why the SAUNA Sport Festival 2024 will turn out to be the biggest sports party in Canada in 2024.

And what a thriller this promises to be!

Set to be organized over three days (June 29-July 1, 2024), the SAUNA Sports Forum and Awards Night, the SAUNA Sports Festival and SAUNA Grand Soccer Finale will be the largest sporting celebration in terms of the number of sports on the programme, the number of participants present and the number of people from different cultural backgrounds gathered together at the same time, in the same place, in the spirit of friendly competition.

Summary of the programme guide:
SAUNA Sports Forum and Awards
Date: June 29, 2024
Venue: Hilton Hotel (Toronto)

SAUNA Sports Festival
Date: June 30, 2024
Venue: High Park

SAUNA Grand Soccer Finale
Date: July 1, 2024
Venue: Esther Shiner Stadium
For more details, check out our events section.

A dream come true

Finally, it’s here!

The Sports Association of Ugandans in North America (SAUNA) has officially launched its operations in North America.

October 7, 2023 started as an ordinary date. But in the aftermath of all the activities that transpired that day, the date will for the years to come be remembered for all historic reasons.

“This is a historic day. I want to congratulate SAUNA for this achievement. I am convinced this association will change perceptions and the lives of many in the communities it will operate,” the Chief Guest Rev. Eddie Jjumba stated during the launch of the association at 1200 Lansdowne, Toronto, ON, M6H 3Z8.

 

The launch of the association’s activities marked the start of a new chapter in the lives of those who appreciate healthy living, the need to work out, network in a stress-free environment and ultimately break social and cultural barriers among the communities.

During the launch, SAUNA Director Godfrey Ssembeguya recounted the association’s journey into existence.

“This has been a process that has been built over the last three years. We believe this will bring together all sport loving fans in North America,” he stated.

SAUNA utilizes sports to promote healthy living/fitness, develop careers and strengthen cultural relations through various activities in communities in North America and Uganda.

On the eventful day, Toronto Cranes West battled Toronto Cranes East in a match that lived-up to its billing in commemoration of the launch of the association.

The Wise Men from the East edged their counterparts from the West 1-0 before being rewarded with a glittering trophy, and City Tyres T-shirts while the stand-out performers were recognized with balls.

In appreciation of their commitment and dedication to the event, all participants were offered certificates.

While speaking at the event, SAUNA director Fred Kaweesi emphasized the ambitions of the association.

“We are here to change perceptions and create opportunities for everyone in the communities of Canada. We believe everyone has the potential to be relevant in society and all that is required is a platform to allow those special skills come through,” Kaweesi stated.

“We plan to grow the SAUNA family over time through a variety of well-thought-out activities that will serve the interests of all communities and age brackets,” he added.

“We want to have Ugandans and Africans play a major role in major activities like the FIFA World Cup that will be happening here in 2026.”

Directors Laurian Lubuulwa and Moses Kabugo held one-on-one engagements with the over 100 guests at the function.

Rene Kwol, the President and Director of Canada First Academy attended the event.

Sauna will transform lives

It was a party atmosphere during the launch of the Sports Association of Ugandans in North America (SAUNA) on October 7, 2023.

A number of high-profile guests attended the event and number of Ugandans competed in the football gala in commemoration of the activity and here’s what they had to say:

Chief Guest: Rev. Eddie Jjumba

“This is a historic day. I want to congratulate SAUNA for this achievement. I am convinced this association will change perceptions and the lives of many in the communities it will operate.”

SAUNA director Fred Kaweesi

“We are here to change perceptions and create opportunities for everyone in the communities of Canada. We believe everyone has the potential to be relevant in society and all that is required is a platform to allow those special skills come through.”

SAUNA director/ Player Thomas Muluka

“I am proud to have been part of this event as a director and also player. The match was competitive but I managed to keep a clean sheet and inspire my team to victory on this historic day.”

Player Shafik Najib

“This has been an exciting day for me and all the players. I believe this will grow into something much bigger in the near future.”

Inspiring the next generation of stars

It’s a Tuesday afternoon –three days after launching the Sports Association of Ugandans in North America (SAUNA).

One of the several activities on the SAUNA launch trail were one-on-one engagements with the next generation of stars training with a number of academies in Toronto.

Our first stop was the Canada First Academy.

After a couple of grueling hours of working out, we get a chance to interact with a number of young players –many of whom would love to be the next Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi.

Then, there is Ibrahim, who has a full head of height on most of his contemporaries. Ibrahim is the most popular among the players. Those who don’t know his name, when they watch him from the sidelines, simply refer to him as “the big lad.”

Ibrahim hopes to be the world’s best defender in the years to come.

 

SAUNA director Fred Kaweesi spoke to kids from the academy to answer any questions they had about football.

Besides sharing insights of what SAUNA is all about and the opportunities it presents to communities, Kaweesi told the youngsters that if there is any advice he would share with them, it was to make the most of their time at the academy and learn all they can.

He also explained why their aim at the academy should be trying to become the best in everything they do at the academy.

Celebrations

IT’S TIME TO PARTY

Toronto East Cranes were crowned champions of the SAUNA Inaugural Title after their players had sprinted around the pitch at 1200 Lansdowne, Toronto, ON, M6H 3Z8 in a joyful explosion at the final whistle.

During the crowning ceremony, Toronto Cranes East players huddled as the Chief Guest Rev. Eddie Jjumba handed over the trophy to the team captain.

The entire team burst into frantic celebrations, taking selfies with the glittering trophy.

Below are some pictorial moments from the crowning ceremony.

Awards ceremony

You are all winners

Minutes after the Wise Men from the East edged their counterparts from the West 1-0, that sense of rivalry was aside for an ambiance of unity.

The two sides felt winners in more ways than one.

The overall winners were rewarded with a glittering trophy, and City Tyres T-shirts while the stand-out performers were recognized with balls.

In appreciation of their commitment and dedication to the event, all participants were offered certificates.

Below are some of the pictorial moments from the match.

Historic match

TORONTO CRANES EAST BATTLE TORONTO CRANES WEST

One of the most interesting activities held during the launch of the Sports Association of Ugandans in North America (SAUNA) on October 7, 2023, was a fascinating football match.

On the eventful day, Toronto Cranes West battled Toronto Cranes East in a match that lived-up to its billing in commemoration of the launch of the association.

Below are some of the pictorial moments from the match.

SAUNA SET TO LAUNCH ON OCT 7th 2023

The Sports Association of Ugandans in North America (SAUNA) will launch its operations in North America on October 7, 2023. 

The high-profile event will precede Uganda’s national day independence celebrations on October 9, 2023.

“I am glad that we were able to find a suitable date and venue for the event,” said SAUNA Deputy Managing Director Thomas Muluka.

“The organizing committee is ready and operational for the launch of the event this year. It was jointly decided that it would be best to hold the event this year in the best sports and social conditions.” 

The launch will be hosted at 1200 Lansdowne, Toronto, ON, M6H 3Z8. 

The launch of the association’s activities will mark the start of a new chapter in the lives of those who appreciate healthy living, the need to work out, network in a stress-free environment and ultimately break social and cultural barriers among the communities.

“We are here to create a difference and change perceptions in communities. The rewards of a healthy population and sociable community are unprecedented,” SAUNA Director Fred Kaweesi stated.

“We plan to grow the SAUNA family over time through a variety of well-thought-out activities that will serve the interests of all communities and age brackets,” he added.

Toronto Mayor Olivia Chow has been invited as Chief Guest. Rene Kwol President and Director, Canada First Academy and Barry Samuel Director, Inside Out Studio will also attend the event.

SAUNA utilizes sports to promote healthy living/fitness, develop careers and strengthen cultural relations through various activities in communities in North America and Uganda.

Creating sports career opportunities in communities

SAUNA uses its platforms and activities to identify young talent within communities and create opportunities for them in sports academies or institutions that offer opportunities to student-athletes to further their education.

Considering that education is a catalyst for social and economic change, our programs focus on developing talent and providing opportunities for them to fulfill their careers in the areas of their strengths.

SAUNA works with partner academies, colleges, universities and major organizations to achieve this objective.

Celebrating African heritage in Northern America

The SANA African Heritage program seeks to recognize and relive the legacy of African descents in transforming lives in communities and sports in North America.

This program focuses specifically on the contributions that African descents have played in transforming sports in Canada and USA, raising aspirations of young people from African heritage and using sports to tackle racism.

We celebrate these outstanding individuals and use their experiences to inspire the future generations that look forward to embracing North America as their new home.

Sana also recognizes February –the Black History Month –that was set aside in Canada to celebrate some of the Black Canadian athletes who have contributed so much to the country’s sporting success on the Olympic stage and beyond, inspiring generation after generation as they broke down barriers.

Over the years, hockey’s biggest challenger to its eternal sports supremacy in Canada was basketball.

However, through the last decade, soccer is now Canada’s most popular sport among children.

Black immigrants are firmly at the center of this tremendous transformation of soccer popularity in Canada. A town embodying the Canadian Black soccer wave is the aforementioned Brampton.

In the USA, African Americans, have used professional sports as a platform to highlight social and political issues.

According to researchers, sporting events have provided a platform that would have been otherwise unavailable for African Americans.

Canada

Marco Arop (Sudan)

Marco Arop is a Canadian track and field athlete competing in the middle distance events. Arop is the reigning world champion in the 800m, winning gold at the 2023 World Athletics Championship, after winning bronze the previous year at the 2022 World Athletics Championships.

Alphonse Davies (Ghana)

Davies, 22, plays for the Canadian national team. He is a left-back or winger for Bundesliga club Bayern Munich. He was born in Buduburam, Ghana.

Ismael Kone (Ivory Coast)

Kone is a professional football player who plays as a midfielder for CF Montreal. Born in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, he represents Canada at international level

USA

Timothy Weah (Liberia)

Weah is an American professional soccer player who plays as a winger for Serie A club Juventus and the United States national team.

Yunus Musah (Ghana)

Musah is an American professional soccer player who plays as a central midfielder for Serie A club AC Milan and the United States national team.

Haji Wright (Liberia)

Haji Amir Wright is an American professional soccer player who plays as a forward or winger for EFL Championship club Coventry City and the United States national team.