The second round of the Uganda Premier League got underway on Tuesday, February 23 with six of fixtures lined up on the day.
Different teams have beefed up their respective squads calculative of the mathematics that comes along the second phase of the season.
From championship contenders, seasonal challengers, party spoilers and the great fight against relegation, the second round menu will serve it all.
The bottom-line of sports and football inclusive world over is to provide entertainment to the fans, employment to many as well.
Fans are key and pertinent to the football cause globally.
They love to watch fancy dribbles, dummies, attempts at goal and eventually seeing the back of the net shake with a beautiful strike is every football fan’s ambition.
At the onset of the 2015/16 Uganda Premier League season, several clubs embarked on a massive fans’ drive; one intended to lure the supporters back to the terraces.
Personally, I was awed by the incredible mobilization abilities for Lweza F.C, Sports Club Villa, Sadolin Paints, Bright Stars, Express and to a small extent Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) football clubs.
Spurred by the incredible work of cheer leaders whose organizational abilities is commended, new club fans were registered, new branches opened and vibrant strategies of reviving passionate cheering sought.
At a time when the national league is struggling to make a mark in the terraces especially when the non-community based clubs are in action, efficient fans’ mobilization is the lee way to up-holding the status quo.
Fans need to be handled with utmost care. They need to be convinced time over and over.
Constant reminders through the bulk sms plat-form, door to door campaigns, regular branch meetings, fans’ day out, workshops and symposiums, all means need to be used.
Two weeks ago, KCCA F.C officially launched their Kampala Central branch to add to the already vibrant Kawempe branch.
These two branches should be the club’s yard-stick to enable the opening of many city and country side branches.
Since the start of the 2014/15 season, Sports Club Villa energized the fans’ mobilization abilities and the fruits were instant – more and more fans were mobilized through the country side branches.
Community based clubs as Bright Stars F.C, Lweza F.C, Jinja Municipal and Sadolin Paints F.C have tried the best means to lure their home fans first.
In a way, these home fans have done the ground work of preaching the club’s gospel and bring on board new fans.
Besides creation of branches, there are a lot more things that the respective club fans’ committees should practically be engaged in to attract more fans on the club bandwagon.
First, all bonafide club fans should be registered into a data base with a minimal registration fee.
In a way, this registration fee is another income source for the clubs which can be diverted to promote the club.
The idea of seasonal tickets is another promotional tool to generate more revenue to the clubs and attract more loyal fans.
Fans should be encouraged to purchase branded club merchandise at affordable fees.
These can be replica jerseys, caps, water cans and bottles, scarfs, balls, calendars, banners and other simple house-hold utensils that can be easily branded in the official club colours and logos.
My brothers at Nsambya came up with the Jogoo water project which has worked over the past two seasons.
Villa themselves, Lweza, Express and KCCA F.C have excelled at sale of club shirts.
All these strategies should be extended to the rest of the 16 clubs in the top flight league as they trickle down to the second division league (FUFA Big League) and the subsequent league lower.
Regular meetings, seminars, mini workshops and symposiums specifically for fans need to be organized by club fans’ working committees.
This is a sure avenue of fans converging to share ideas, brain storm issues at hand, meet their leaders and network as well.
Worthy to add, it is at such forums that football fans get to understand the true dynamics of the game proper.
Football is a game of winning, drawing and losing. Hooliganism has no haven in any football coffer.
By and large, fans’ mobilization at club level is the way to go to restore the football fever of the yester-years in 1970’s, 80’s and early 90’s in Uganda.
Let us support football and other sporting disciplines with a cause.
For God and my country