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The unpopular opinion about floodlights

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How Mandela National Stadium, Namboole looks a night with floodlights on | Bata Image

Our love for floodlights transcends all boundaries! That’s why the mere mentioning of it in our
football circles gets our spines tingling. The thought of it being realised feels fantastic yet the real vagaries show that it’s still afar cry from being realised.

The aura that surrounds the replication of a European footballing atmosphere is not something we Ugandans take so lightly.

In fact, our closest encounter to anything European gives us the feel of butterflies in our tummies. But it’s not butterflies I’m here to talk about, & neither is it the atmosphere at the games but it’s about the ability of our games to attract the crowds we so much crave for; more so on the return of floodlit games.

Now that is where both the hard and technical work begins. Your ideal soccer fan will make you believe that it’s just a matter of rescheduling the games to past sunset and activating the floodlights but the reality is that it’s much more than that.

You’ve got to give our already hardheaded fans a very solid reason to make the trip to the stadiums and stay on to way past prime night time. These are the other incentives that football can harbour beyond the football matches only.

Besides the already scheduled night matches, clubs can put in place mini bars at their grounds with blaring music. By doing this, you sure to ‘trap’ behind the fans that love their brown and green bottles

Certain arrangements can also be made where after a UPL night game, the European late night midweek fixtures can be cast through a projector for those that may opt to stay a little longer. This means fans would be killing two birds with one stone.

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SC Villa defender Bashir Mutanda tries to stop Kirinya Jinja SSS striker Faizo Muwamu during the night game at Namboole | Bata Image

They get to watch both their locally beloved clubs in action plus their much fancied European outfit too. Imagine the bout of joy such a human may harbour as he retires to bed an hour or two past midnight.

Clubs can also partner with their sponsors or bring in sponsors on board that can sponsor raffle draws at halftime and/or fulltime for fans that have bought/consumed a particular product.

This gives such guys a chance to emerge as lucky winners and in so doing, clubs would subtly be winning back the crowds to the games. Of course, it’s easier said than done but even a journey of a thousand miles starts with a single stride.

This is inevitably a step in the direction we’ll all want to believe is the right direction but the onus is entirely on our clubs. No one is going to do this for them so they’ve got to take the big decisions.

Either way, we all hope one day to see the crowds we saw SC Villa pull in the late ’90s and early 2000s. Incredible scenes those were for Ugandan football.

Scenes we can only hold dearly and cherish in our memories. But of course, if that’s all going to change anytime soon; then, of course, every actor has got to play their role vehemently. Failure of which, our football shall remain a far cry from what we so desire it to be.

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