By Jac Kagina Twitter: @jackagina
Four full years ago, I wrote an article that was published on a Friend’s blog (jobaze.wordpress.com). That’s when “Kipro-Rich” had just won the 2012 Olympic Marathon Gold Medal. One of those moments Ugandans didn’t expect. After three years, Uganda Cranes has finally achieved a milestone that could even unmatch what Kipro-Rich did during the London Olympics.
Though, the results of Kipro-Rich’s Historic achievement have not been as positive as we “Sports enthusiasts” had thought it would. There was hope that it would turn the page of all sport in the country but also would be used as a marketing tool in terms of Tourism. Well it didn’t quite do it and yet again we have a new dawn upon us, Uganda Cranes qualifying for #AFCON17 in Gabon.
Now, this comes with it a whole lot more than changing the face sport in the country. It may be a great tool to capitalize on for attracting tourists. Yesterday, International broadcasters were awash with videos/pictures and moments when we “broke the jinx” of 39yrs in their Sports news bulletins.
This is what sport can do, you don’t pay for publicity, just excel and publicity will find you. Let’s ask ourselves, how many people in the world know of Usain Bolt and how many actually know that he comes from Jamaica? How many people in the world right now have heard of Kenya from their long distance runners?
By the way do you know it can also unite a country? In 1994, when South Africa shed the shackles of apartheid, it did not mean the country was automatically set on a path of unity. Sport starting with the (1995 Rugby WC), followed up by the 1996 AFCON & continuing with the 2010 FIFA World Cup played and continues to play a major unifying role.
Here’s my concern, are the “Politicians” both in our sports governing bodies and in positions of leadership aware of what an achievement Uganda Cranes has brought upon this generation?? Just imagine what we used to say, even all international media used to say, “Uganda Cranes last qualified for AFCON in 1978”. Until 4th of Sept. 2016, that was our “major” reference point as afar as football international tournaments are concerned forget even the many times we have won CECAFA.
Can we please, for the love of the country capitalize on this? Can these boys/men who represented us say that their lives changed for good when they played for the Cranes against “Como-Loss” or as they call them Comoros? Can the government and all stake holders use this time to not only just promise but stand their ground to deliver on their promises? Shall we see another day like 4th of Sept 2016?
Finally can we all be involved? Let me use the words of Tom Ddumba – “For Cranes or football to go forward it won’t be money from Gov. It will be community & SME involvement. And it too, running like a business. Sports betting firms that earn so much from sports in Uganda but put nothing in sports need to be shamed.”
Let me say this once again like I did in 2012, “A Revived Sports sector is a free marketing tool for the Tourism sector”
For God & My Country
God Bless Uganda