New Vision (Kampala)

18 June 2012

Uganda: Cranes Played a Perfect Game

Cranes media manager Katende Malibu once said that the only time he wouldn't mind dying would be when Uganda qualified for the Africa Nations Cup finals.

"The day we make it to the finals, I would have fulfilled my dream. Anything thereafter would be a bonus from God," Malibu still says.

There are so many Ugandans with such passion for their national soccer side. Is it therefore surprising that nothing unites the country like the Cranes?

This passion was again evident on Saturday as Uganda thrashed Congo Brazzaville to edge closer to its first Nations Cup finals in 34 years.

It is long since Uganda won by a four goal margin in this competition, no wonder some people who were not very conversant with the qualification format actually thought the Cranes had qualified.

Big celebrations

Celebrations continued late into the night. So, just imagine what will it be like if the Cranes eventually make it to the South Africa 2013 finals?

The football fever was almost palpable hours to kickoff. Chanting and vuvuzela blowing started at Namboole as early as 7am.

The football craze was also evident in huge merchandising. As local soccer governing body FUFA squabbles with Namboole stadium's management over gate collections, it should realize that it is losing even bigger money elsewhere.

If FUFA could control the sale of replica kits and other merchandise, things like team air tickets wouldn't be a problem.

On Saturday, opportunists made a kill of the Cranes brand by selling shirts, caps, hats, scarves, wrist bands, flags and photos.

Brisk business

Those in the catering, transport and bar business made a windfall just like anyone who could paint fans with the red, yellow and black national colours.

Photographers who can produce instant pictures, are the new football hit. With hundreds of people anxious to have their joyous moments captured, there couldn't have been a better gadget to do so than such a camera.

Some of these came complete with computer and mini generator.

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