Back in the day when Ugandan football was at its peak in terms of the domestic league, the numbers that would throng stadiums to support respective teams were evident. A game between traditional rivals Express FC and SC Villa in the 90s would be talk of town a week prior to the game and come match day, Kampala was all buzzing.
That is no more for close to two decades after a number of factors led to the decline in numbers but key among them was stadium violence and hooliganism. Parents felt it was no longer safe to see their children go to stadiums hence in the long run leading to low turn up of fans.
This coupled with match fixing dragged the league to its feet with the climax coming in 2004 involving the infamous SC Villa vs Akol game. Since then, the league has been in a limbo until the past few years where it is slowly resuscitating.
It is upon such background that Kiryowa Kiwanuka, the Express FC chairman continues to preach discipline and has always fronted this as one of the key aspects that will revive the club’s lost glory.
On Tuesday as the club ushered in Betway as partners, Kiwanuka was quick to put emphasis on discipline saying, ‘ When my executive took over, barely three months ago, one of my first concerns was regards to discipline of the football team, technical team, management and the fans.”
“Without discipline it is difficult to build a great football enterprise and team. “ He added.
Kiwanuka called upon football fans to embrace the new trends and stop stadium violence that kills the brand of the team.
“Hooliganism no longer has a place in modern society. We must also embrace the new trends as football fans. I was quite disappointed that SC Villa fans attacked Moses Basena. It is a shame. At the start of the season, we had a regrettable scenes in Kavumba where a section of our fans pelted match officials with stones.” He stated.
The chairman is however optimistic that the vice will be dealt away with more sensitization campaigns for the fans.
“We know that football in Uganda is just growing and even match officials are also in the same path so they are bound to make mistakes but that does not mean you beat them. We shall as a club try to teach this to our fans and make sure hooliganism and stadium violence is dealt with.” He said.
Barely three months since assuming power as club chairperson, Kiwanuka has already attracted four sponsors/ partners on board. These include, Equity Bank, Buganda Land Board, Nile Breweries and the most recent Betway.