I had an interview with Frank Nsubuga last week on his cricket life story and if you were not touched then you have no heart beat.
Nsubuga has given 24 year of his life to a game that he loves so much and given fans some great times in the yellow and red of the Cricket Cranes. The reality for most of our heroes is that they have been loyal to a game that will never pay them their worth.
Nsubuga narrated how this lock-down affected his income earning streams since most are related to sports that was banned. Like the rest of us make careers in offices, Nsubuga has been a loyal employee who has mastered his craft. With his experience in another world, he should be earning a seven figure salary with most of his retirement needs taken care of so that he doesn’t have to worry about when end of month comes.
Unfortunately, Nsubuga gave most of his life to an amateur sport that cant afford him. He said when they started, people had to pay for him air travel and others to be able to make the trips and most of the payment was a one off.
For most of the late 90s, cricket paid them literally nothing and when it started the pay, it was not certain but they were always available. On this journey, some of his peers moved on by choosing to stay in other countries but those that stayed nothing changed.
Guys like Nsubuga have relied on handouts for so long and those that give them are comfortable with that status quo, but his real needs are beyond 10,000 and 20,000. As a family man, he seeks to build a home for his family so that his two kids are safe every night. His kids will need school fees when they start school and medical care when they are sick, therefore his expenditure is no different from our own.
As sports lovers or administrators, we need to have more empathy for our everyday heroes, guys who gave us a lot of joy and made us proud of being Ugandans. It would not hurt if someone from the fraternity donated a 50×100 piece of land, fundraise for a two-roomed house. Those with schools can offer free education to the children of our heroes, if you run a medical facility provide free healthcare as an in-kind service for the service our heroes have given over the years.
As we progress, things are getting better and the next generation might have things better but for now, we have to look after those that made the game stay alive. With out the likes of Nsubuga who were always available to tour, we could have had no cricket in Uganda.
It’s time we build on what they left us with and make it better. While we might not compensate them their value fully, we at least need to give them something that gives them pride and a house would be a great start.