By Immanuel Ben Misagga
World-wide, football is the most unifying sport and is only comparable to music. Football has brought an end to many wars and conflicts, uniting people from different walks of life regardless of their race, religion or political beliefs.
However, as much as football continues to provide entertainment and attract new followers, there is a sharp deficiency when it comes to the real supporters of the sport.
In Uganda, the football fraternity has a large base of corporate fans and the working class that discuss the game from a rational point of view. They discuss the impact of results and what is needed to improve the game.Unfortunately, most of these corporates are desktop and social media warriors who become absent when it comes to walking the talk.
This is partly due to the fact that Fufa has turned football into a game for a handful, and the rest have to be onlookers. There is no public discourse on the state of the game. You just wake up and hear Uganda is going to play its home games abroad without prior justification of the choice of destination. Matters are not helped by the fact that The Cranes’ stock has fallen sharply in recent years. So, it is in Fufa’s interest to make the game as unattractive to the corporate class as possible.
The corporate has been reduced to following the game from a distance, and all they can do is comment on social media platforms.
Unfortunately, this has trickled down to club football, where they don’t watch league games.
On the contrary, it is the despised lot, such as chapatti sellers, boda boda riders, or vendors, that watch games and participate in club issues despite the fact that most of them are Johnny-come-latelies.
Villa is doing its best to change the narrative and has already won back the hearts of many corporate fans through various fan-engaging initiatives.
However, I know it is already being looked at with envy by Fufa, which will not surprise me if Villa’s renewed momentum of reviving its generic fan base is fought.
I believe that as the sport strives to move towards corporate status, we need to attract more people to be part of the on-the-ground affairs than those that only associate through WhatsApp groups to evoke humor about the status.
It is against this background that we need, as a football fraternity, to find ways of persuading the corporate class into the running of club football in order to develop a competitive league.