Uganda has been through a lot over the years. From bad coaching eras to seasons where we barely made the tournament but most importantly championships. All those hardships intensified the sweet victory last Sunday at Namboole National stadium as the Uganda Cranes beat the Comoros and thus ended their 39-year absence from Afcon finals.
The fans were spectacular, the support phenomenal; you couldn’t ask for better. It felt good to get the win. We went in there expecting a tough game and it was a fight for both us. I am glad we came out on top. It felt good to at least to get one win under our belt.
The nation’s faith in their team is a testimony to the incredible strength of hope. While common sense would dictate that after 39 years expectations should be lowered, Ugandans in their black, yellow and red jerseys instead evoked the spirit of victory with their support and dedication.
This goes to show that these games are not just a game to us. They are much more than that. They go deeper than what we do, they speaks to who we are. We are a hopeful nation. We are more united than we let on; our blood runs black, yellow and red.
The losses help us to understand that in life you can’t give up, that you must push yourself harder and harder each day. We learn that there are no hand-outs in life. That you have to work for everything and sometimes life is not going to treat you as well as you want it to but you never ever give up.
We learn to keep going, persevere and come together. This shared hope unifies us as nation in ways other things fail to.
On an individual level, a game distracts us from ourselves, allowing a temporary reprieve from the weight of our unavoidable hardship. More than just an escape, it allows those who feel limited by their environments a shot at feeling things they may rarely find elsewhere triumph, pride and pure joy. People are given chances to transcend their limitations and re-assert their own identities.
The sacredness of a sporting event allows the individual to achieve a state of abandon that is usually known only at the peak of spirituality. Thus by default one gets the benefits of a really good meditation session; peace, joy and reduced stress levels.