Our boys returned home from Gabon. Their flight landed at Entebbe at 2:00AM local time when hardly anyone could show up to congratulate them. As though we were ashamed to receive them.
This is lamentable. I have seen many Ugandans complain about our sons not getting the cup.
Uganda last qualified for the Africa Cup of Nations 39 years ago. It was during the reign of General Marshal Idi Amin. Amin is remembered as a dictator and a tyrant. How things change. Now many Ugandans miss Amin for his patriotism. Amin was a sportsman and funded sports in Uganda like nothing you have seen in the whole 31 years of the man who works for himself and his family.
What is depressing is how hard Micho and the team worked to make it to Gabon. And how so much money which was promised to the team got squandered. Our team flew to Gabon with barely anything. All their matches are usually minimally funded.
Our team faced some of the toughest African teams you will ever see. We should thank them for qualifying and then thank them for playing Ghana and Egypt. The two countries fund their sports teams in ways beyond Uganda's reach. And by the way, Uganda has the money to fund our team and other sports but we have far too many thieves and provide only the minimum.
Ugandans who really care about the Cranes should have been asking Museveni at the HERO's Liberation party in Masindi when our kids were coming home and when we would have the celebration to welcome them back.
You see, the Cranes do not carry brown envelops and neither do they pay boda boda or give fuel or rice in buveera to get you to a parade. They are struggling like all Ugandans. But for Uganda to ignore the accomplishment of the Cranes making it to #AFCON is to tell us, tell Ugandans and the world that sports has no room in Uganda.
When Museveni said Humanities are useless, it turns out he also meant sports is useless. He found sh. 400m or more to pay some none talented monkeys to sing "Tubonga nawe tubonga nawe" as if Ugandans can be fooled any much more.
Whatever your political party is, you ought to celebrate the Cranes. Your country is on the world map. So is your flag. And so are the faces of our team. Politics goes silent when we find a common national thing to be proud of. Are we proud of them? We should be.
For the people who have complained about the Cranes not bringing home the victory, I ask you how much money you contributed to their cause. Because even you yourself did not make the national team in Uganda, East Africa or other countries where the Cranes compete.
We need to give credit where credit is due. Sadly this is not normal for Uganda. We would rather board matatus and buses and go to Masindi to eat mukyele and drink soda.
The beauty of the Cranes being at AFCON is because there were scouts there. You will read about signings of some Crane players with international leagues.
CONGRATULATIONS CRANES. BE PROUD. YOU MADE IT.
Martha Leah Nangalama