The Observer (Kampala)

Uganda: URA FC Must Guard Against Underdog Tag

column

URA FC regard themselves a giant club in Uganda. What I am yet to ascertain is whether they want us to place them on the same footing as Villa, Express and KCC.

But whatever the case, a big club is represented by its fan-base. Fans are so important in this football trade and especially at this moment where URA securing a win over Coton Sport is of utmost importance. Unfortunately, URA hasn't shown us any substantial fan-base in its ten years in top flight football.

It is about time though. I would hope, therefore, that instead of the club chairman, Ali Sekatawa having his hands at the back of his head while seated in his office swinging chair, reminiscing about the 0-0 draw in Cameroon, he would be sending a notice to all the 2100 URA staff across the country about the coming clash with Coton Sport in the return leg.

You see, last year when URA hosted Lesotho Correctional Services FC at this stage, Allen Kagina, the Commissioner General of URA was in the stands cheering on the team. They won 3-0 but the club only collected Shs 3.5 million as net income in match ticket sales. This gate collection wasn't even a third of Kagina's monthly salary.

That is how bad it looked despite all of us knowing that URA as a government body are the money bags and by extension should the majority of their staff. If all the 2000 workers of URA came for this match and paid at least Shs 10,000 each, the football club would have in its coffers Shs 20 million to start with as a respectable collection to fit their status.

But that will require a concerted effort from the management. It is at this time that they should indeed be thinking like the management teams of top European teams like Bayern Munich. If that is too wayward a thought, how about borrowing the Fufa blue-print whenever Cranes is going to play a Caf or Fifa qualifier?

First of all, just as Fufa hypes up Cranes games, URA can do the same by visiting radio stations where ads and jingles in respect of the upcoming game are played. Attract the media to the team's daily training sessions too. Secondly, with URA the only Ugandan representative in Caf, make this a Uganda v Cameroon affair so that even your erstwhile corporates that only watch Cranes games have a reason to spend March 2 at Namboole stadium.

Besides, with Cranes players like Simeon Masaba, Saidi Kyeyune, Derrick Walulya, Moses Feni and Owen Kasule on URA's books, URA don't have to strain much in finding icons that can appeal to Ugandan football fans.

That said, if the club can afford to dish out some complimentary tickets, don't hesitate because it is one way Fufa has enabled Cranes earn public affection. More still, Sekatawa and company can afford to say that every student with an identity card will be allowed in free at Namboole. All this is intended to create a vibrant atmosphere at Namboole stadium where the stadium is packed to the brim with deafening noise to scare the hell out of the Cameroon side.

Already coach Paul Nkata with his new signature style of talking and philosophy: "We gonna open up their defence playing the Barcelona way," has already assured us that URA can be Barcelona re-incarnate and so there is no reason to fear. Playing like Barcelona can only project one thing: An avalanche of goals. Who would afford to miss that occasion? But while we imagine that, licking our lips in anticipation, URA footballers should be entering camp.

That is the only way these players can be focused for the game. Left to come from home for this clash, these players will be draining out their fitness at night after gaining it during the day's training where there is no one to shepherd them. That would heavily compromise on all the aforementioned plans to ensure that URA wins this game by hook or crook.

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