By Alex Bossa
The day was Thursday May 13th 2021, the Eid day celebrations were winding up and in came the rescheduled match between Manchester United and Liverpool that was abandoned more than a week ago.
With all the drama and pre match tensions that surrounded the match, seated miles away from the theatre of dreams were Ugandan soccer lovers who were glued to their televisions in their comfort zones at home or in bibanda (cinema halls) to watch this heavily contested match.
Of course, the result would not count much on United’s league position but Liverpool had much at stake to lose. Bruno Fernandes’ deflected shot was an icing on the cake but the Pearl of Africa was yet to receive it’s Eid share.
As Liverpool was celebrating its 2nd goal of the day in the 47th minute of the first half, it was joy for both Liverpool and United fans back in Uganda as the Ugandan flag was beamed and rolled across the billboard behind Dean Henderson’s goal. The words which accompanied the flag read, “Rewarding loyal fans like Isaac Sakira”.
Yes, finally one of the world’s biggest brands in football had recognized the world’s most hospitable nation Uganda. For long, the high school battles between United fans and Arsenal fans had gone unnoticed and it was against Liverpool that the global soccer lovers came to know the existence of loyal fans.
For long Manchester United has had an attachment with Uganda way back before Rio Ferdinand’s Visit to the country in 2008. His visit was the icing on a cake as long-time friend Mujib Kasule embarked on developing a relationship between his Proline academy and Manchester United.
That relationship has since grown to the extent that Proline technical team sometimes don Manchester United kits during some matches with the most recent in the Uganda Cup fixture against Mbale Heroes.
Isaac Sakira is one of the many Ugandans who have been supporting the Red Devils for long and his latest achievement is a bonus to a country which was criticized for running an advert with Cable News Network (CNN).
Back in 2005, the ministry of trade signed a two billion shillings deal with CNN to promote the tourism sector, investment location and export industry. The advert which was designed by gifted by nature aired for six months but observers felt it was a waste of taxpayers’ money and yielded little impact.
For a nation that has struggled to bleed talents that can play in Europe’s top leagues, We hope that Manchester United’s reward to Isaac Sakira can kick start the club’s interest in talent search and player in this beautiful pearl of Africa.