Uganda’s Hippos, the under-20 national soccer side, present what many citizens do not see. They are the dream team. At the final stage in Mauritania, they are poised to get the spoils.
The Hippos’ advancement to this stage speaks volumes about their talent, brave and versatile character. They do not give a damn about any team on their way. In the mighty match against Burkina Faso, the Hippos donned these qualities with ultimate skill and confidence - and sense of swag in the eventual penalty shoot-out.
The Hippos meet will face Ghana in the final on Saturday. This is not doomsday. In Uganda’s shot to the AFCON finals against Ghana in 1978, many west and northern African nations fell on the wayside. Today’s Hippos can reinvent this history. The Hippos are Uganda’s true, veritable and authentic national side. They claim the full nativity of Uganda’s nationhood in their names as well as psychic and intelligence qualities. They are aware they have a mission. Indeed, the Hippos can score a political victory for Uganda.
The President, as cheer-leader, should instantly take this up. He should secure the Uganda Airlines’ planes to carry Uganda’s patriotic fans to Mauritania. This outing should accord these soccer gems special attention, for which full diplomatic cover should be commissioned, notwithstanding the team’s CAF welfare entitlements.
In the 1978 finals in Accra, Ghana, Uganda lost to Ghana 2-0 because the Cranes were utterly tortured prior to the game. In this trip, the Speaker should carry the flag while the Chief Justice ensures that justice is done.
Petitions will objectively be handled through the VAR. This flight should include Uganda’s golden athletes like Joshua Cheptegey, Moses Kipsiro, Stephen Kiprotich, Halimah Nakaayi, Dorcas Inzikuru, etc.
The corporate bodies should offer generous logical support. Telecom companies like MTN and Airtel, mighty banks like Stanbic and Standard Chartered as well as oil corporations like Shell and Total already enjoy super-profits from the Ugandan socio-economic system. These, among others, should unite not only to bolster the team’s welfare, but also to give back to the Ugandan society.
The technical team should effectively manage the Hippos. Coach Molly Byekwaso is correctly in the eye of the storm. Correctly because he can positively emerge, for this mission, from Uganda’s accolades in the 1960s/70s to the strategies of the current generation. The back-up for the Hippos should, indeed, be wholesome. The Cranes’ technical team, Jonathan Mckinstry, should provide vital advice for victory at this big-stage event. The current soccer analytical experts, including Andrew Kabura’s caucus, should fine-tune the bid to victory.
The Hippos can only win and bring us glory in the field. The promise is that this squad can conjure the Uganda soccer magic, with a few tips. The Hippos should have psychological victory over the opponents. The team should singly, with all the might and determination, consider victory as the outcome. The team should score goals in the first half and use the second half for bonus goals. The team should mount pressure after pressure against the opponents and immediately recover the ball.
The team, by its own skill and fitness, should tire-out the opponents beyond their strategy and organisation. The team should eliminate rough-play - leading to real or feigned fouls, punishable by dangerous free-kicks or, indeed, actual penalties/spot-kicks.
The Hippos should develop a strategy of clean football to score by teamwork from vertical penetration, unstoppable crosses and penalty area melees. The team should convert corner-kicks and penalties into scores, as a testimony of Uganda’s soccer skill and genius. The Hippos will be inspired to win.
For God and My Country.
Mr Tom Ongeso is the co-founder of the Adriano Oriekot Football Tournament, Kaberamaido District. firstname.lastname@example.org