Former Uganda Cranes and Sports Club Villa defender Timothy Batabaire, 39, has urged Ugandan football lovers to transform from being mere fans to supporters.
Batabaire, now a football consultant and pundit made the remarks during the third FUFA – Uganda Premier League breakfast meeting at Imperial Royale Hotel in Kampala city.
In Uganda for a compassionate leave following the untimely death of his father, Batabaire was addressing football administrators who included club chairmen, chief executive officers, FUFA officials and the media.
“This is a room of wisdom” he opened up with eloquency.
“Most clubs in South Africa do not have fans than here in Uganda. We need to transfer from being fans to supporters. Protect want you have. We can disagree time and again but at the end of the day.Share the gold medal (football) and you will reap rewards” he added.
Bata as he was fondly refered to by many ardent fans, he reflected back to the old-golden days at Sports Club Villa where he won five consecutive Uganda Premier League titles in 1999, 2000,2001, 2002 and 2003.
In a special way, he saluted Serbian national Milutin “Micho” Sredejovic (also graced the breakfast meeting) for the guidance offered back then.
“Coach Micho takes the credit. He convinced the bosses at SC Villa to change their mindset for the best of the club. Personally, I wanted to first completed my masters degree but he told me to do the masters in Serbia when I joined OFK Nis. I lived there for a short time and left” he recalled.
He also called upon development of sports infrastructure in the country to nurture talents.
“Uganda has a lot of talent but the greatest ingredient missing in the country’s football is infrastructure. We need to develop the infrastructure” he added.
The rock solid defender attended the meeting on special invitation of the FUFA president Moses Magogo.
Magogo cried aloud for the protection of the football brand in a bid to sell it to television for revenue.
With the exception of the 16th top flight club yet to be confirmed the rest of the clubs were ably represented as they deliberated matters of concern especially the post covid-19 epoch and recovery.
For starters, Batabaire was capped 34 times for the Uganda Cranes.
Besides SC Villa, he played for OFK Nis in Serbia. He then transferred to South Africa when he since featured prominently for Bloemfontein Celtic (2004-2009), Bidvest Wits (2009 – 2013), Vasco da Gama (2013) and retired at Garankuwa United in 2014.
He is currently into football consultancy business and television punditry.