Security takes centre stage as Uganda opens AFCON Challenge

By George Katongole (Kampala) – Security concerns take centre stage as Uganda Cranes take on ‘Palancas Negras’ of Angola in the first qualifying game for the 2012 Gabon-Equatorial Guinnea Orange Africa Cup of Nations.

Close to 80 Uganda football fans watching Spain taking on Netherlands in the World cup finals game were killed in twin bombings at Kyaddondo Rugby club grounds and the Ethiopian Village Restaurant in Kabalagala, a city surburb.

Federation of Uganda Football Associations, FUFA, has contracted a local security firm, G4 Security Company to oversee security issues at Namboole in conjunction with the Uganda Police. G4 Security has been employed by the Uganda Rugby Union to manage its revenue collections and security issues.

FUFA president, Lawrence Mulindwa explains that having an independent security company manning the gates will also serve to stop forging match-day tickets. “This idea of someone trying to see if someone can enter or not is a security concern too,” said an enthusiastic Mulindwa.

Mulindwa adds that “you see the stadium full, but at the end of the day, over 10,000 people usually enter freely.”

This will be the first time the football association employs an independent security firm to manage its gates. Previously bodybuilders have been employed to manage teams but they are accused of manhandling people and re-selling used match tickets.

The venue, Mandela National Stadium Namboole will be out of use starting Friday, until Saturday. The police will be managing the place to avoid any security threats. “People have to be assured of their security while inside the stadium,” remarked Mulindwa while outlining security details to be followed.

Mulindwa says that after discussing with the Police, the Federation was advised to provide parking for vehicles in the outside parking yard adding that “no vehicles will be allowed inside.”

To avoid long queues at the gate, he explains that match-day tickets will be sold in advance at selected fuel stations and supermarkets. This will be the second time, Uganda selling match-day tickets in advance. The first time was when Uganda hosted Nigeria.

Besides Angola and Uganda, the Group-10 also comprises Kenya and Guinea-Bissau.