1958 Commonweal​th Games - Cardiff

1958 Commonweal​th Games – Cardiff


As we are kicking the weekend out, I took a moment last night to remind myself how Iddi Amin loved soccer but needed to see the Cranes win every game they faced. So before I head out to a morning summer drive let me put some few sentences on the struggle Amin went through to see that our team comes home always a winner, may be our trainers can pick up a sentence or two to use when defending a Uganda team.

Libya was one of our best friends, they financed many projects and pumped a good amount of cash in the country. But Libya also had a soccer team that Gadhafi loved and funded very well. One of those days when Amin was in Tripoli an argument came up with who has the best team, Gadhafi listed his team as the best soccer team so did Amin, it is actually stated that Gadhafi showed up in many countries un announced because his team had gone to play there, but so did Iddi Amin. In fact when Amin went to visit 17 countries in one trip three of those received him for the Cranes were playing there. Because the two presidents failed to agree on the argument, they agreed to put the cards on the table, The Uganda team was to fly into Tripoli and play the Libyan team so that we see which president has the best team.

And so they flew into Tripoli and that game was even televised live. The Cranes played very badly and were beaten. But that game also taught us an important lesson, the team was not beaten for it was not trained but it was beaten for Libya had a carpet stadium which was new to Uganda players. On a carpet the ball does not move as it moves on a soil ground, the bouncing changes and the entire chemistry of running on the ground changes. So we were beaten for we were still too Africans and too uncivilized to the new world order. To those that know Bombo barracks, the old one, the road that runs from what was Bombo hospital going round to mile 20 had a stadium, and that stadium was dug out like 4 feet deep so that concrete gets dumped in and a soft layer put on so that our players start to learn to play on international level standard. Whether that project was finished or not before The Gwokto’ s saved us from a bad government I have no clue. But state house had instructed a building of a carpet stadium in Uganda so that our players get used to play on it.

We called Gaddafi and requested him to send his players again for a rematch and thinkers had the simple task of finding out how that team can be beaten for now they’re even on a home ground. They flew in on a Tuesday and the match was on Saturday in Nakivubo stadium. We took the Uganda transport Coporation buses the express type that used to be a coach class to Entebbe and packed them in and drove them straight to Kabale Inn, Uganda hotels. Well when you visit a country that country has every right to decide where you will reside, the Libyans were camped into Kabale. They were well fade and had access to everything they so wanted. They had a very good time. Friday 10 pm they were instructed to pack everything for they had a game to play Saturday afternoon, they were driven over night to Kampala arriving at about 10am and dumped into Equatorial hotel. The reason they were put into that hotel was to access all foods they can eat. You have people that have travelled throughout the night, so they need to shower and they need to change, now they are sitting in the best food Uganda would ever give to a visitor. At 3 pm they were taken to Nakivubo to play the game, they were tired and on full stomachs and we beat the crap out of them. You see they were beaten fair and square.

Now we are at a point where Libya actually needs a rematch, and we never knew what carrot was going to be thrown to our kids but we cannot say no we are not coming for Libyans are our friends, but we knew that there was a surprise in our faces. The team flew into Libya and got ready for the game. There was nothing unusual, they were camped into Tripoli and everything went with no surprise, but they had this feeling of something crappy falling on them. Nope nothing happened. They had gone to Libya a couple of times and had practiced on the carpet and had a clue on how to deal with it so that was not the larger problem it still remained what are they holding as a payback for us. As soon as they were driven into the stadium, Libya surrounded the stadium with APCs and started to fire them from the beginning of the game to the end. Although Uganda had a military government but local people like these players never heard of an APC firing a shell, so this was very unsettling and they never knew what was happening on the outside and they had no one to inform them about why the army was shelling out near the stadium. Many things crossed their minds, is the government being over thrown? Is there a military mutiny? Are they coming in the stadium to kill all of us? They failed to play and we were beaten. To today I still wonder what president had a best national team, Iddi Amin or Gadhafi.

Enjoy the world cup.

Edward Mulindwa.


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