Football still best bet at international glory

I know football (especially the English Premier League) is so woven into our social life that a weekend without action like last week is literally empty.
To be honest, it’s silly and sometimes we are all due a distraction from the innate tribal stupidity of football.
Rugby offers one such alternative mainly because, alongside basketball, it owns a reputation as a fast growing spectator sport in Uganda. Of course, whether rugby in Uganda is just a passing fad and an excuse to get very drunk or whether it will ever be as popular as football, is another matter.
But having followed its ‘light version’ the HSBC Sevens World Series on television these last few months, I wonder where Uganda sits in all of this.

Interesting figures
I managed to come across some interesting statistics on Test rugby, some of them rather useless, but others that had me startled and thinking about our place in rugby.
Consider this for example – the average weight of players from wings and full backs to props and hookers is a mind boggling 98 kilograms!
Now, I am no gambling man, but I shall pay-out whoever finds me 20 Ugandan players with such biomass statistics.
It is an exception rather than a rule that you will stumble upon a Ugandan who is 100kg and even then most of it would be fat deposited by imbalanced diets and binge drinking. Hardly the stuff to carry into competitive sport.
Now this is not to say that the average Ugandan is naturally unable to attain such mass. But on current evidence, the natural growth process of the average Ugandan male gets arrested by malnutrition, disease and poverty.

This confirmed to me that no matter how well coached we are, it shall be a while before we become a rugby Test nation unless of course we leave our grandchildren a blue print on how to breed or a freak wind blows our direction and re-configures our society and plight.
Is that to say we can’t play rugby? Of course not, as a matter of fact we have some marvellous ‘ruggers’ and at our level, a few rungs below test playing nations, we are actually half-decent. I just don’t think we will be making it to the World Cup anytime soon.

So what does a man who lives in a society that doesn’t enable him to grow into a rugby player do? I suggest he just goes out and plays football because you don’t need a king’s diet or the genetic composition and mentality of a bull to be able to play football.
We could develop marvellous basket ballers, swimmers, ruggers and golfers but it is just going to require more effort than developing footballers.
This is just a casual observation of someone who thinks football is the most cost effective sport to develop in this country.
banturakim@gmail.com

SOURCE: Daily Monitor

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