Going into Casablanca with blind faith

This column was penned a few hours before the Guinea – Uganda game in Casablanca and I had to contend with the foolishness of predicting the future – a very uncertain one at that.
Even then I still thought I should share my blind faith.
You see I am one of those unapologetic Ugandans with a spectrum of choice and who no matter how many times local football and all its politics threaten to put me off, I still show up to cheer on the senior national soccer team – The Uganda Cranes.
The longing for familiar surroundings is so hard to resist and always draws me back, doesn’t it?
I am like that man, who occasionally shows up at the dingy local pub for the sting of locally distilled gin because it invokes within him the impure but fond memories of times gone-by, that no single-malt is capable of doing.

It was with intoxicating pleasure therefore that I tuned in to watch Wednesday’s game, just like I have done for all national games for over 20 years.
And it wasn’t because I believed we would beat Guinea and qualify for Afcon 2015. It is just that as a Ugandan I see it as matter of pride.
Admittedly though, my pride was boosted by the goodwill generated by last weekend’s victory over continental powerhouse Ghana.
It’s what put us in a position of cheer in the first place. It is also not common for The Cranes to have a decent head to head record against one and possibly two West African opponents whose pedigree is heads and shoulders above ours.
So to be honest we have enriched our reputation in no small way. And it is upon such small things that the change in the psyche of a football fan from one of despair to one of unquestioning belief is based. So excuse my delight and understand that a fans’ love is often premised on promise.
Besides you must give yourself a chance to dream. And our uncharacteristically fine showings had us dreaming of overcoming that hurdle that always trips us at the business-end of qualification campaigns.

Still, I have been here before and I know how similar in emotion our qualification campaigns are to a post-Christmas hangover. You know the year ahead is a long one. You know because it always happens, year in and year out! Yet you party hard, and generally spend beyond your means.
So I am hardly naive and I have lived to see how quickly our pettiness has drained our momentum many times. But these days I consider myself a poor conductor of such worries, all of which now lie buried beneath a skin hardened by years of under achievement.
I can handle this cocktail of emotions. And I said to myself if we win I would celebrate like any other success starved Ugandan football fan. If we lost and I would still implore all of us continue to support and encourage Micho and the boys as we build on to future targets like Afcon 2017 and the World Cup 2018.
Either way I was contented. So out went the apprehension that normally suffocates me on such days. And sometimes that is what being a fan calls for – blind faith.


SOURCE: Daily Monitor

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