Namboole decay not financial but cultural

Saturday May 16 2020

Fans watch a Cranes match at Namboole stadium.

Fans watch a Cranes match at Namboole stadium. FILE PHOTO 


Mandela National Stadium (MNS) managing director Jamil Ssewanyana says the stadium has been advised to sort themselves out if they want to continue hosting Fifa and Caf engagements.

It is a problem that requires urgent attention because when the Covid-19 crisis ends and international football returns, we must be ready. So, what can we do and who should we do it with?

Mr Ssewanyana talks of how much the dressing and media rooms, halogen flood lights, and playing surface, all need an upgrade and how all that requires someone with deeper pockets.

Earlier this week, Fufa president also weighed in with his opinion. He says the stadium should revert to Government
through its sports authority, the National Council of Sports (NCS).

This is logical to the extent that Government own Namboole and is also more resourced than MNS. However,
this logic starts to feel remarkably like a misdiagnosis when one considers the Lugogo Sports Complex– a NCS run facility with a bigger revenue pipeline and dirtier toilets. Is it then really a lack of funds or our crooked usage culture of public resources?

The entertainment religious and political crusades at Lugogo or that bring in 65 per cent of Namboole’s revenues for instance, is it that they don’t bring in enough or that their money comes along with the reckless behaviour responsible for the maintenance headache of blocked plumbing and worn-out turfs?


This over all lack of maintenance by the way doesn’t troubles only our sports arenas. Anyone who has ever had the misfortune of visiting a public toilet in Kampala will understand what am saying. I believe this is a cultural

Therefore, the boda-boda chap and his mute passenger will ride over a freshly planted public flower garden and we will throw banana peels out of our car windows. We will clog the washroom plumbing with hard paper or stand and stomp on the grass despite


It isn’t because we don’t feel that we are somehow wrong. It is we just don’t care for anything whose title doesn’t carry our surname. In other words, Namboole’s media rooms, floodlights and turf are doomed to be mismanaged
because we have no collective sense of ownership

So, the lack of funds is only the proverbial tip of the iceberg. Beneath the water is an icy national mindset that is appallingly malicious, mutually negligent or both. It is that simple to diagnose really and I am afraid no amount of money can speak to that.

That said, I am certain that NCS will sort Namboole’s issues. And Namboole shall get back to hosting our home games at least until the next crisis rises to the surface. It always does because we never seem to change our ways. But sometimes it takes hard lessons to effect behavioral change.

And I won’t lie, part of me wishes NCS didn’t pay and we got banned. Maybe only then shall we make the connection between pissing in the hand wash basin and not watching the Cranes at home.