“People do not even greet, some organize attacks to beat the rival fans. Football should be fun and after a match guys should go and have some drinks together. Win or loss. Fans should avoid personal attacks,”
Joel Aita the club chairman Arua Hill sports club recently shared his insights about the football sport in the West Nile Region and football rivalry being one of them.
He notes that, the understanding of football rivalry seems to be totally different from what’s on ground. Aita further suggests that rivalry should be in such away that each teams fans make noise about their club and in the process a healthy competition comes in.
“Rivalry drives the fans to fully support their team, head to the stadium in full numbers, buy club merchandise and in the process the club benefits. Football rivalry doesn’t mean enemity,” he noted.
Aita added that in West Nile rivalry seems to tend to enemity and this is wrong because it is not the spirit of football.
He also pointed out a number of socioeconomic benefits that come with football and what impact they have on the population.
“On match days you can’t believe the number of people who descend in our towns. They need accommodation, food, drinks, Boda Boda services etc. they spend money and that money is left in the local economy,”
Aita imagines that if West Nile has five teams in the Uganda Premier League, the amount of money which will descend in the region will be massive and a boost to the local economy.
“We massively supported Calvary FC last season even though they were our competitors(With Arua Hill SC). The idea was that two teams from West Nile advance to the top tier although Calvary did not make it and we hope that this season they get the chance,”
In his efforts, Onduparaka and Mvara boys football clubs have been supported with a number of balls, sponsorships and other related items. A coaster has also been availed for clubs to use and all these are done with the Hope that a number of clubs from West Nile get promoted to the UPL.
Aita also revealed that the raw talent young boys have in football when you go deep in the villages is amazing and he called upon more people to join hands and offer support to the clubs.
“Financial sustainability, football infrastructure, and the attitude of players and parents are one of the problems that need to be worked on. Many people have a perception that West Nile players are indisciplined players and to some extent it is true,”
The small Big League trophy ARUA Hill brought to West Nile last year is the only tangible football reward that has been seen in west nile ever since the 1960s.
The Arua Hill club chairman says, the region is also known for their fans who love football and at the time Kampala clubs had lost fans in their stadiums, Onduparaka emerged with crazy fans.
“Nakivubo stadium would be full of Onduparaka fans as though it’s the home team. Some ride with motorcycles all the way from Arua to Kampala to come watch their clubs play,”
According to Aita, It’s not any different at Paidha Black Angels Barokoro stadium as shops in Paidha are all closed on match days and in addition the fans even built their own pavilion at the stadium.
Currently West Nile teams are displaying a promising performance with Arua Hill SC in the 5th position with 25 points, 6 behind table leaders KCCA FC and Onduparaka are 13th with 13 points just 2 above relegation.