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Football fans’ depression is real

By Football256 Team
A section of fans at the Mandela National Stadium during a Uganda Cranes game | Courtesy photo

By Asaph Mwebaze

In 2006, a friend of mine came into my office, explaining that he was feeling depressed after our favourite team Arsenal had lost the champions league finals to Barcelona.

I thought he was exaggerating that, or just being sarcastic on how I wore our jersey the previous day.

But he was serious. And over the course of the hour, he explained his feelings of loss, despair, anger, irritability, and his inability to focus at work.

First forward to December 8, 2020, KCCA hosts Onduparaka at Lugogo. I was fortunate to be in attendance and witnessed the battering of Onduparaka at the hands of KCCA. 8-0 was the final score.

It was a bitter sweet experience because I was sentimentally vouching for the yellow yet I coached Onduparaka and became hooked. It was a situation that was very confusing to me until I met my neighbours in Gayaza.

Mr Ovua who works in the neighbourhood and his friend Onzima waylaid me as I was doing my morning ride. They had watched the same game on TV and had a few questions about the game and us coaches.

They explained it was demeaning to them because their team had become a laughing stock and Onzima who works at Arua park was not feeling well to go to work.

Not long after, I went to the nearby trading centre where I met a former class mate and also from Arua with the same topic to discuss.

It turns out that he was experiencing blues after the Onduparaka loss. He said he won’t watch a game in Lugogo again. This pain is so real if you are part of the beautiful game.

The problem with football is that it is like a drug or a relationship. It can make you feel good for a while and totally destroy you without warning.

The Television networks and radios do a great job before a game, especially before a league game to make it sound like the most important thing that has ever happened in the history of mankind is about to go down. 

Different social media pages will even call it a do or die affair. Of course, they never say, “And remember, it’s just a game!”

In the early eighties a Haiji working at Wandegeya market dropped dead after he was told his favourite team Express FC had gone a goal down to Coffee FC a game Express eventually won.

Football fan depression is probably better described as the sports fan blues. While the symptoms can match those of depression and while they can be surprisingly painful and disruptive, they generally have a short half-life.

In most cases, you’ll feel better in a few days when your team wins again. That said, if it has been a few days and you’re not feeling better, or if your symptoms are so severe that they’re affecting your sleep, work, or relationships, you might want to consider meeting with a healthcare professional.

In one of the most bizarre stories in football, came from London. A husband and wife were season ticket holders at the Emirates for 30 years.

On the day of the North London derby, several seats were vacant in a sold-out stadium, but in one of the rows, a man sat alone and when asked where his friends were? 

He dropped a tear saying they were at a funeral, when further quizzed he told the couple that it was his wife that had passed on; Now this was crazy at best.

The Red Army of Express went 16 years without getting their hands on the Uganda premier league title.

People lived their lives and had not seen success since 1996. Their eternal rivals SC Villa so successful during that period, even suggested they abandon red for blue.

Express fans had become so rowdy that games between them and Villa seldom ended. But alas, in 2012, Express ended the drought and recovered some sanity.

Remember, you never know what’s going to happen. It seems that every year at least one team that’s favoured does awfully, and a team with low expectations might do well.

This swings fans emotions like a pendulum thus causing lots of depression. The only advantage in football is that there is always another season.

The author is a CAF B licensed coach he also holds a Bachelor’s of Commerce in Accounting and Finance degree and a Master of Arts in Public Administration.

YouTube: Asaph Mwebaze Jr, Facebook: Asaph Mwebaze Jr.

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