OPINION: What Killed West Nile (Inyasa) Derby Vibes
The West Nile (Inyasa) derby between traditional rivals Onduparaka FC and Arua Hill SC once again turned out into a dull afair after the two teams played out to a 2-2 draw in the StarTimes Uganda Premier League encounter at AbaBet Greenlight stadium on Friday evening.
The Caterpillars snatched a point from the Leopards with a late equaliser through their forward Emmanuel Oketch. This was after Isaac Ogwaang’s goal looked set to hand the Kongolo Boys the much needed victory. The first half ended in 1-1 draw after Rashid Yakini cancelled out Toha Rashid’s operner.
While there was something to smile about for Onduparaka FC, The second edition of the West Nile derby both home and away fixture was a miss for both teams as it never leaved to its expections when it comes to its attendances and of course the vibes.
Last season the derby between these two bitter rivals brought the whole country to a standstill as thousands thronged Barifa and Green Light stadium to witness and cheer their favorite teams.
The first edition of the West Nile derby which was also locally known as the Inyasa derby or Arua City derby was seen as a threat to many derbies and was described as the second biggest derby in East Africa by many football lovers after the leading and famous Kariako derby Simba Sports Club and Young Africans in Tanzania.
Fans travelled all they way from other parts of the country to watch these games and new a side that won had bragging rights until the fixture and the players had pride in donning the jerseys of the two teams.
However the West Nile derby did not meet its expectations just in its second edition of exitence and our senior reporter Elias Swali Bandullu looks at some of the reasons that has led to the dullness of the West Nile derby.
The Boycott Of The First Derby:
While the Caterpillars were on a preventive method, the decision to boycott the first derby that was played at Barifa has greatly affected the vibes of this derby as many Arua Hill SC fans opted not go to Ababet Green Light stadium on Friday to attend the second leg of the West Nile derby.
This has greatly affected the financial accounts of both clubs as millions of shillings were lost due the few attendances of the second edition of West Nile derby.
Hooliganism And Lack Of Enough Security:
The fact that the first around of the derby at Barifa stadium recorded some acts of insecurity when the perimeter fence got broken by fans and the second leg of the derby at AbaBet Greenlig stadium that ended with some few acts of hooliganism scared many fans of both clubs from attending both derbies this season hence killing its vibes.
Lack Of Buzz, Dull Pre-Match Debates And Press Conferences:
This season the West Nile derby lacked a buzz, the atmosphere of excitements and great activities that happened a week before the real derby last season didnot take place in the second edition of the derby.
The enviroment surrounding the derby was mean-looking and a dour football affair. The derby was not hyped enough compared to the previous derby.
Last season pre match debates started with both fans believing their team would win, the debates equally started early enough to attract more fans and the pre match press conferences were bright hence making the first derby a hit.
I personally attended the press conference of Arua Hill SC last year ahead of the first derby at Barifa stadium and i can say it was nice and attractive hence attracting the interests of many fans. However this did not happen this season leading to few attendances of the fans.
Both West Nile Derby Teams Struggling:
The fact that both teams have been struggling with their own challenges in terms of finances and results killed the vibes of the derby.
While for Onduparaka FC was worse as they found themselves in a poor form of results sitting at the bottom of the log and struggling financially ahead of both West Nile derby fixtures hence making many to lose hopes and couldn’t attend the matches so as they opted not to waste their hard earned notes.
For Arua Hill SC they found themselves in a mix form of results ahead of both fixtures and equally had financial challenges this season compared to last season leading to low turn outs from fans and players during the derby hence making it a miss.
Lack Of Enough Marketing And Involvement Of Other Stakeholders:
The reason why the Soweto derby between Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates, remain the biggest in Africa has been marketing strategies and involvement of other stakeholders inclunding SAFA and the Johannesburg City Council.
Such a big game that attracted many fans should not have been left to only the media to promote and hype its attendances. The club officials needed to go beyond media in order to sell this games. The Federation Of Uganda Football Club have done little in protecting this games especially appointment of better match officials to produce the best officiation so as to avoid hooliganisms from fans meanwhile other stakeholders like Arua City Council have not directly involved themselves in promoting this game.
There’s no day during this derby fixtures you would see politicians like the Member of Parliament in this city bothering themselves to attend such derbies but you can watch and read about how the whole president of the Republic of Tanzania attended the Kariako derby.
While you complete reading please tell us by dropping your comments below if you think we can ever witnessed that huge attendance with great derby vibes again.