By Asaph MWebaze
The sheer paranoia, fuss, and aggressive energy that goes into a derby game is quite something. And that’s just in the days leading up to a domestic derby.
In the space of a few hours, Sports Club Villa and KCCA FC will play their hyper-local square-up at the Bombo Barracks Grounds, feeding the obsession with a fixture that offers as many points as any other.
This game earlier in the eighties was a cracker; you blinked, you missed history unfolding. Villa played a first paced counter-attack game while KCCA preferred a slow short passing game.
This game was fuelled by SC Villa’s penchant for buying all the best players at KCCA. These included Jamil Kasirye, Jimmy Kirunda, Godfrey Kateregga, and Adam Semugabi up to Morley Byekwaso.
Of late the tide has turned and it’s KCCA FC doing the snatching of players from Villa and beating upon them with a bit of impunity.
Derby days are a convenient quirk of the mythical because the fans are always expecting to witness a piece of magic or divine intervention especially if their team comes in the game as the weakest.
They’re also an extended opportunity for a ‘good advert’ for the Uganda Premier League, which usually consists of euphemism, end-to-end football, full-blooded tackling, and the disproportionate excitement at winning a corner.
The historical foundation that has made this fixture what it has become is the divide between the social classes of the two sets of fans. Historically KCCA FC was a team started by civil servants and generally the upper Kampala class of people.
On the other hand, Villa was a club of businessmen and traders from downtown and usually at the lower end of the education system.
One would have used the term ‘the haves and have nots’. The Jogoo demystified that notion by pumping loads of cash to push KCCA FC off their patch.
As we move into another episode of the long-running soap opera in Villa’s adopted home in Bombo, KCCA FC goes into this game as favourites considering the table standings and previous recent results.
The added sparkle to the game is the loads of Villa players that have crossed the divide in recent times. They read like a who is who at an Oscar award ceremony, from Isaac Kirabira who was captain to the new kid on the block Charles Lwanga Aka Neymar.
One of football’s most enduring currencies that flows back-and-forth within and between the two clubs for decades is ‘bragging rights’’.
It’s a phrase you read a lot and hear a bit but should never say out loud yourself. This game is more than the three points at stake, but the dignity and feel-good effect of both sets of fans albeit the coronavirus induced lockdown on games.