September 4th will forever be heralded by Ugandans as the day they qualified for the continent’s premier football competition following a 38-year old wait.
Playing at home, in their famous Mandela National Stadium (Namboole), this vital match brought with it, a mixture of optimism and nervousness as memories of the team’s previous disappointments still lingered in the fan’s minds.
But the match also brought about a sense of unity in the country that didn’t even exist during the fight against colonialism. In the 90 minutes of the game we teased ourselves of what this nation should be.
We stood united in support of a single cause, under the Black,Yellow, Red flag. Putting aside our political, religious and social affiliations. At the game, Janet Museveni was the Minister of Education and Sports not the wife of the man some believe has been in power for too long.
In those 90 minutes, Sheikh Shaban Mubajje was the leader of all Muslims in Uganda, not Old Kampala, not Kibuli, not the Tabliq, not the Salafis, but all Muslims in Uganda. There was no NRM or FDC supportets at the game, only Ugandans supporting their team.
And when Farouk Miya scored that memorable goal in the 34th minute, we rose in celebration as a nation, not as tribes or Muslims and Christians.
For decades, the growth of our nation has been stunted by religious and political skirmishes, but sport has shown how vital a tool it can be in annihilating the inhibitors of our development.
Thank you very much for reading. And congragulations to the Uganda Cranes for making us proud. Have a great week.