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"Uganda's dream to play in the Africa Cup of Nations"
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"Uganda's dream to play in the Africa Cup of Nations"

Steven NsubugaUgandans are hoping their national football team, ‘the Cranes’, can end a near 40-year wait and finally participate in the Africa Cup of Nations, writes Steven Nsubuga, 27, a Commonwealth Correspondent from Kampala.

A little under a month ago, on the eve of Uganda’s Independence Day, hope was in the air. The nation was united, a rare occurrence in itself.

Amidst spiraling inflation and ubiquitous reports of corruption, good news was in the offing. The nation stood on the cusp of ending a 39-year-long wait to participate in the Africa Cup of Nations.

Political, social, tribal and all other lines were crossed as Ugandans held their breath hoping that our football team the Uganda Cranes would win their last game against Kenya’s Harambee Stars and secure qualification for next year’s Africa Cup of Nations in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea.

It was not to be as a combination of poor administrative decisions, and nerves got the better of Uganda resulting in a 0-0 stalemate against the lower ranked Kenyans. On the eve of the game, Uganda’s best player and top scorer in the qualifying campaign David Obua was expelled from the camp for being absent when the team received a visit from the nation’s first citizen, President Museveni.

It is not hard to imagine the effect this had on the team as a whole. Nevertheless, many teams still go on to win without their top stars, but on such a big occasion, nerves also got the better of the team as frustration set in over a couple of missed chances.

At the final whistle, the disappointment in the stadium was palpable, as a nation’s 39-year-old wait was extended for at least another year. Qualification would have added extra spice to the country’s 49th year Independence celebrations as well as giving the nation some much needed good news after the innumerable scandals reported in the media.

The worst thing one can ever deny a human being is hope, and in this case we still have hope. There will be another nation’s cup to contest in 2013 in South Africa, and having gotten this close, hope still abounds that we shall make it and that the dream will not exceed a 40th year.

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About me:

“I am a 27-year-old software developer from Uganda. When I am not writing code, I am either reading my bible or playing Scrabble, football or badminton (I am a classic single-tasker, so I only one activity at a time).

“Sometimes you may also find me pondering who was the greater detective – Hercule Poirot or Sherlock Holmes.”

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Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth Youth Programme. Articles are published in a spirit of dialogue, respect and understanding. If you disagree, why not submit a response?

To learn more about becoming a Commonwealth Correspondent please visit: http://www.yourcommonwealth.org/submit-articles/commonwealthcorrespondents/

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