By Robert Kayindi James
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For years now, Ugandan football has suffered very low turn up of fans at the stadiums especially at the club level which has greatly affected the development of the game in one way or another.
Apart from the known old derbies for example Express vs SC Villa, KCCA FC vs Villa or Express and of recent Vipers vs Villa, most of the other league games turn ups have been quite disappointing and perhaps slightly demoralizing to the owners or sponsors of these clubs.
It’s right and just to say that things have been fairly good as far as turn up is concerned whenever the national team, the Cranes are playing but how about club engagements, U-23, U20 and U-17 national teams. All those need the fans in the stands as much as the Uganda Cranes do.
The recent inclusion of musicians onto the football scene could be the key to enticing more other fans back to the stadiums. Jose Chameleone was named Uganda Cranes ambassador for the “Cranes Namutima campaign”. Later on Bebe Cool was named as the National team’s ambassador while StarBoss Big Eye was also named for a similar position at the Azam Uganda Premier League Champions KCCA FC.
In addition, just last week, Ghetto President H.E Bobi Wine was appointed as the Brand Manager for Express FC aka ‘Mukwano Gwa Bangi’. While we are yet to see the fruits of Bobi’s appointment at the Red Eagles Camp, let’s embrace the idea first and exploit it.
While Bebe and Chameleone partly pull the crowds for the Cranes, can’t they do the same for our clubs?
When Eng Ben Misagga had just taken over as SC Villa president, musicians like Eddy Kenzo and Desire Luzinda, who both identify as Jogoo diehards entertained fans at the Sazza grounds of Mutiyana where Villa hosted their home games during the first round the 2014/2015 league season. In the Jogoos company is always Mathias Walukaga, a prominent Kadongo Kamu singer who is also another passionate fan.
It is such figures that football needs to exploit to the maximum with the help of the media to call back fans into the stands.
Over the weekend, Arua based side Onduparaka FC took everyone by surprise as their fans turned out in large numbers at Nakivubo Stadium where they lost 3-1 to Vipers SC in the 2016 Uganda Cup final. Now the dream of everyone Azam Uganda Premier League (AUPL) club is to have such a large and passionate crowd of fans in each of their games for the entire season.