‘The hard work that pays’
Ugandan events manager and safety expert Dixon ‘Bond’ Okello has received the Confederation of African Football (CAF) Safety and Security Officer Award for 2020 in Douala, Cameroon.
Okello has been in the ‘security limelight’ for a while now and he’s certified FIFA and CAF football security officer who has taken charge of very high-level matches on the continent and the world at large.
He is responsible for risk management, crowd management and safe capacity calculations at stadiums where he ensures that stewards are in place so as the match/ tournament progresses smoothly from start to end without insecurity, working under the principles of coordination, communication and cooperation.
To scoop the award, Okello was overwhelmingly voted the best by CAF Officials, match commissioners, general coordinators, media officers, and referees.
The experienced security expert is a no-nonsense fellow, who is always bent on ensuring the security measures inside a stadium during a match are adhered to and prior to winning the award, he vowed to keep the same spirit.
“I will keep on delivering 100% and making sure stadiums and venues around the world are safe,” Okello said.
Attributing his first CAF Safety and Security Award the almighty God, Dixon admitted that it has not been easy for him especially in Uganda where his efforts have always been frustrated.
“I have always struggled to bring sanity to the stadiums here in Uganda. But there has always been a lot of ‘fitina’ (envy) from other security agencies because they think I maybe just want to steal the show or maybe make them look stupid,” he said.
Okello however, contended that through his efforts and cooperation, the country has three other Ugandans in CAF Security like Jamil Bawalaggana, Abdul Lukooya Ssekabira, Mpagi Ssewanyana and Humphrey Watenga.
“We have to make sure that more Ugandans are trained as CAF security officers to make sure that our stadiums are safe,” he said.
Given his high level of expertise, Okello noted that he is ably fit to handle matches at the highest level; be it world cup or Elclassico between Real Madrid and Barcelona.
2019 is a year to remember for Okello as he was at AFCON in Egypt, where he was in charge of the main stadium that hosted the opening game, semifinals and final.
Still, in 2019, he was also in charge of AFCON U20 in Niger where he overlooked the main stadium for the opening match, semifinals, and final. Okello was employed by FIFA in Poland for the U20 World Cup and also in Brazil for the U17 World Cup.
Okello is not formidable in only keeping security but also outspoken when it comes to players’ welfare. On several occasions, Okello has put FUFA and Uganda Rugby Union on the spot for failing to pay players on time.
Okello also handled the Confederations Cup final between Raja Casablanca and AS Vita Sports among many other big matches in Africa, Europe, and South America.