Whereas the biggest part of the country’s population will watch the Uganda Cranes on television, a sizable number of fans is expected to be in Egypt to follow fellow citizens at the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon).
In Africa, travel beyond borders is not an oat meal and the ardent Cranes’ fans have had to drop some sweat to make the trip north.
Deo Ssebakuka has been a Cranes’ fan for 15 years and hopes to arrive in Cairo in time for Cranes’ tournament opener against DR Congo on Saturday.
Ssebadduka’s recent trip with the Cranes’ last 2019 Afcon Qualifier away to Tanzania. He watched them at the Chan finals in Rwanda three years ago and accompanied them to the 2010 World Cup Qualifier away in Benin.
He however has had to hassle to make it to Cairo. “I have had big problems in trying to secure this trip,” Ssebaduka told Daily Monitor yesterday. “The visa for Egypt was very difficult to get,” he said.
And rightly so, it has been a hassle for many to secure visas to the land of the Pharaohs. “When we first went to the Egyptian embassy, we were asked for very many things,” Ssebaduka said. The embassy requested for national ID, letters from Interpol and an employer, bank statement and a passport accompanied by a yellow fever card and the visa fees. It is not until fans like Ssebaduka were assisted by Fufa to get visas. “We took our documents to Fufa CEO Edgar Watson who got us letters to the embassy and we finally got the visas.”
That visa process will likely not change for anyone hoping to watch a match at Afcon. Even accredited individuals like journalists have had to pay for the visas but receive them within an average period of two days.
Meanwhile, like Fifa did at the recent World Cup in Russia, continental body Caf introduced fan IDs to assist fans to buy tickets for any Afcon match in Egypt as a security measure. Daily Monitor understands that most travelling fans are clueless about this.
“I haven’t heard of a Fan ID,” Ssebaduka admitted. A fan register for an ID online for free via https://www.tazkarti.com.
“I prepared early and so I knew about the fan ID,” acknowledged renowned KCCA FC fan Maximillian Nanyondo.
“It has not been easy but since I had missed the Cranes in Gabon, I saved my money for this,” stated the lady who works in the KCCA public health and environment department.
“I wasn’t affected with the visa because I first inquired from Fufa and they guided me,” she added.
A return ticket to Egypt costs an average of $700 (Shs2.6m) whereas cheap accommodation around Cairo is $4 (Shs14,800) via Airbnb within the tournament period from June 21 - July 19.