Cranes needs us both in good and bad times

By Moses Banturaki

Today, we play Lesotho in the first game of a double header. Should we win these two games, don’t you dare set off for the Cape Verde game in November after 11am unless you own a chopper. And that is a bit strange because today’s game will not fill up Namboole.
You see for a football-mad nation we can also be a bunch of fair-weather fans.
We tend to love our football only if we are winning and all it takes for us to convert from red-jersey wearing nationalists to disinterested blame-apportioning arm-chair pundits, is one poor result, and the draw versus Tanzania last month did just that.
So, don’t expect mile long lines of traffic snaking their way to the stadium gates this afternoon.
There will be no bleary-eyed men and their drunken dances in the streets of Kireka. No honking boda-bodas carrying flag-waving fans turned gymnasts, hanging precariously off the sides. In fact, you can set off from anywhere in Kampala after 2pm and still find the time to squeeze in a meal before the 4pm kick-off.
This then is the Namboole the Cranes in their shiny new jersey will walk into and isn’t it just sad? Yes, the die-hards that sit in the curve to the right of the main pavilion will be singing in the sun – they never disappoint.
But the terraces will largely be empty because we only associate with winners and choose to go about it with the tact of vice-girls.
It is hardly the environment we need to pick up our campaign is it? And to avoid a disaster unfolding the Cranes had better score and ignite the game quite early. The fans who make it to the stadium will need to be lifted quickly, living them no time at all to pity themselves.
At least they should be rewarded for their loyalty and who knows maybe the doubters will be encouraged to join in thereafter.

Past occurrence
It has happened in the past you know. There was this game against Liberia in 2013 and some fans, if I may call them that, were initially so disappointed by a prior game that they saw no need to turn up.
But after 10 minutes on NTV they had seen enough to change their minds. They came in their thousands and slowly started to fill up the stands. By full time we were a decent 25,000 fans in there.
How fickle is that? I am not sure whether these fair-weather fans were waiting in nearby Kireka or their homes elsewhere.
I found this to be very choosy indeed and even stranger than our habit of trying to make it to the game a few minutes to kick off even if our city boasts of no structured mass public transport system.
Anyways, I can understand that people are not interested in going to a decaying Namboole at 9am especially if the gates will only open at 1pm. But we are the 12th player and the Cranes need us in the good and especially bad times.

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