This weekend I went to the Uganda vs Madagascar soccer game (I’m gonna be a stubborn American and use that term over “football”). For a professional game, tickets were only 20,000 UGX or $8 and Maeve and I went with the Kaihura UK volunteers and their friends.
We got to Namboole Stadium 2 hours early on boda bodas and there was already a large crowd of people wearing soccer jerseys walking to the gate. Tons of street vendors were around selling all sort of flags, bracelets, vuvuzelas, and face paint. I got a Ugandan flag painted on my face and realized only too late it was oil-based. Inside, people sold g-nuts, popcorn, soda, and one guy actually carried around a mini photo printer to charge people for pictures (2000 UGX).
We entered the enormous concrete stadium and were shocked by how much room there was. The seats were simple concrete benches and a decent portion of it was full by the end. Most people were sitting at the top under the shade but the hardcore fans were all hanging off the railings at the bottom. A lot of people were dressed up in wigs, funny sunglasses, and other random costumes (one guy was dressed as Moses while someone else was Bob Marley playing the recorder). The field itself was pretty nice and green.
I’ve never been to a professional soccer match before but I would classify Ugandan fans as one of the most spirited groups. When a player missed the goal, the whole stadium fell. When a good pass was made, everyone jumped up and down in their seats. There was so much noise from the vuvuzelas, whistles, and general screaming. I swear some people were barely paying attention and were simply having a private dance party of their own.
Uganda ended up winning 1-0, scoring in the first half. The crowd was ecstatic and people were throwing up water and bottles and everything else. On their way out, a bunch of people asked to take pictures with us and we weren’t sure if it was because there were so many of us (we were probably around 10 or 15 mzungus) or because they didn’t see mzungus much. On the ride back, people were similarly excited and making as much noise as possible with their horns. Traffic was pretty crazy but it was great seeing how happy everyone was! Overall, I’m glad I came out to Kampala this weekend.
Bug bite count: 19