BY BAMUTURAKI MUSINGUZI
JULY 7, 2010
NOT TO MISS out on the world’s most loved sport Ugandans have devised all sorts of means to watch the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
While some traders have seen their business boom it’s also an excuse for husbands to return home late.
In cases where a home has one television set and it’s only the father interested in soccer and the rest preferring to watch soaps like La Tormenta, cartoons and the popular Nollywood movies – coinciding with a world cup match, the father will be forced to walk into a sports bar or a kibanda to avoid fights at home.
It’s a period of escapades for unfaithful men even those that are not soccer fans to cheat on their wives commonly referred to as “away matches” under the guise of watching the World Cup.
The real fun of watching the world cup is in the cinemas, makeshift video halls (bibandas) and sports bars. However, one has to be careful to show the side he or she is supporting because you will be accused of not being a Pan-Africanist especially if an African team is playing.
Mr. Joseph Ssennyondo, a resident of Kampala prefers to watch football in sports bars. “I prefer the sports bars because at home one can be lonely. Yet in the sports bars there are cheers and noise similar to that in a stadium and the lots of friends and beer,” Ssennyondo said.
However, due to the prevailing poverty millions are not part of this fiesta. Many can not watch the world cup while others can only listen in on live rebroadcasts on the various local FM stations. Thousands can not afford a transistor radio, television set, newspapers, magazines let alone DSTV.
In case of power black outs owners of cinemas, bibandas and sports bars have stand by generators but this means eating into their profits.
According to the 2002 Uganda Population and Housing Census there are 231,366 (4.5 per cent) households with TV sets and 2,490,165 (48.6 per cent) with radios. About half of the households (49.2 per cent) in the country reported that “word of mouth” was their main source of information, followed by the radio (47.8 per cent).
Less than 1 per cent of the households reported the print media (newspapers and magazines) as their man source of information. The same proportion was recorded for those who reported that the television was their main source of information.
Businesses are cashing in on the global event with the prices of imitated jerseys of the countries taking part going for Ushs5, 000 ($2.1) compared to Ushs20, 000 ($8.7) or Ushs40, 000 ($17.4) for original jerseys of popular teams like England, Argentina, Brazil and France. On the streets of Kampala, taxi and bus parks one will be bombarded with cheap and poor photocopies of the World Cup fixtures at Ushs100 ($0.04).
In the various sports bars, bibandas and streets soccer fans can be seen dressed in imitated jerseys of the participating teams. You would not be surprised if some may not even locate the teams they are supporting on the world map.
Dealers in new and used television sets have not made a kill either because competition is so stiff that if one raised the price of the TV sets people will not turn up to buy. The dealers partly blame it on poverty.
Several companies are engaged in promotions were winners get all sorts of prizes. In most of these promotions participants have to predict the final scores of each match.
The managing director of Manhole Video Club, in Kibuli a suburb of Kampala, Mr. Abu Mutasa says in the turn-up for the World Cup in his club is poor.
“Turn-up is not good because Uganda Broadcasting Corporation (UBC) TV is showing the matches free of charge. We only get a good response during the English Premiership and Champions League. And we have seen big numbers turn up in this World Cup when there is a black out or English Premiership players are in action,” Mutasa said.
Mutasa also believes that at Ushs500 ($0.21) to watch a match in a kibanda is not much but people prefer to catch the action on UBC TV.
For the ardent football fans its: “Let the best nation win the 2010 World Cup.”