30 September 2012

Uganda/Zambia: Let us Save and Support Cranes

Photo: New Vision
Uganda soccer fans who travelled with the Cranes to Zambia

It's now official: soccer governing body FUFA are not reversing their decision on the entry fees to Cranes' decisive Nations Cup qualifier against Zambia on October 13. Not even the four-hour impromptu meeting with National Council of Sports (NCS) on Tuesday could change that.

So what do we do? Should we abandon our dear Cranes at a time they need us most simply because of a hike in gate charges or ignore the extra financial burden and opt to push the side to glory?

I would personally opt for the latter as such history-beckoning moments don't come that often. Where would be the sense in supporting and instigating that remarkable fight-back against Congo in the earlier rounds and abandoning it with just a step into the Promised Land?

The fans are right to rage over the sh40,000, sh75,000 and sh120,000 entry fees as all are approximately double to the sh10,000 to sh30,000 they have been accustomed to over the years. But the economic situations are different. The Cranes brand is growing and the expenditures on the team and for this particular game against the Africa Champions will be a lot higher than before.

So rather than dwell on what charges should have been set, all we should be doing is devising means of raising money in support of our dear Cranes.

The one thing about the current Cranes side is that they all want to do well for their families, for their fans and their country when duty comes calling next month.

But equally important is what each fan will offer in return. I have always thought that the best fan is not that one that buys every single piece of team merchandise to deck his or her bedroom or living room.

It's not that fan that strolls to a stadium on a weekend to pass time, or simply because giants South Africa, Ghana or Nigeria are in town for an international qualifier. Of course, we all have different ways of expressing ourselves, but the real fans are those that spend on the team they love without complaining.

Its those fans that travel thousands of miles with their team around the globe, to inhospitable locations at the most inconvenient times and think nothing of it -like the over 100 that travelled with the Cranes team to Ndola.

It's those fans that sit through games thick and thin and never leave the team's side.

On October 13, Cranes will need all the support and If we can fill Namboole to the rafters, Zambia will struggle to contain the noise. Lets just carry our vuvuzelas and make life hell for them.

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