One of the great misunderstandings about football is the belief that fans come to see goals. This has been a debate among sports scribes and football pundits in media and football Terrance.
Many people have been trying to find solutions on how to have many goals to the extent of accusing coaches of not doing their jobs.
I remember one time as Maroons head coach, my team didn’t register a goal in the first four games in the 2017/18 season, and one of the directors summoned me to his office to answer the charge of not scoring, I also faced criticism from friends in the media about the same.
After three goalless draws and a defeat, I remember asking one of them ‘if it would have been better for my team to lose 3-0 so that goals can be seen?’
There is a misguided belief that all supporters want to see is the ball in the back of the net. But it is the rarity, the preciousness of every goal that makes them mean so much.
Eventually in the 2017/18 season, in the fifth game at Mwerere against Bright Stars, we scored a stunner of a goal from forty yards and that also meant three points.
The few goals in the Uganda Premier League can be attributed to the continuous understanding of the game by many coaches and teams. In the earlier years, few coaches were qualified and hadn’t done any coaching badges.
With the advent of qualifications in coaching, coaches understood what was elusive in ordinary fans minds that football results are many. One could draw, win or lose by a respectable margin because at the end of the season all that will count.
Defending is an art in football just like attacking is another; In most cases, if you cannot defend you better outscore your opponent otherwise your team doesn’t stand a chance.
In 2010, Jose Mourinho demystified the notion that attack is the only way to win titles, he figured out a plan to stop the all marauding Barcelona led by Lionel Messi and handed Inter Millan a Champions League title.
Coaches in the Ugandan league learnt the art of organizing defensive units and thus the reason for fewer goals.
Strikers worldwide are a rare commodity and thus the price is to get a good one. The bigger teams in the league need not to nurture them but rather buy.
The smaller teams have to scratch the grounds looking for gems like Patrick Kaddu who they cannot hold onto for long. If goals can’t come frequently defence has to shut shop.
The excitement and memories in football are not really about goals alone but the heart and soul of performance, what the result means to the team and the memories therein.
Teams might have the ability to score but always on the losing end of the bargain.
Case in point is Proline Football Club in the Uganda Premier League. Their ability to create goals is unquestionable, but they let in too many goals at the rear end.
This cost them a place in the elite league and I don’t think a Proline supporter wouldn’t trade a point for goals in this situation.
Maroons FC of 2019/20 scored more goals than their 2017/18 counterparts, but the difference was the total points collected in the goalless draws with the latter team.
What fans want to see are matches in which every goal is essential and potentially decisive.
With the levelling off of total goals and the continued decrease in goal difference, the Uganda Premier League has delivered its customers exactly that, tight and nail-biting matches in which no team is guaranteed a thrashing or is facing insurmountable odds.
The late coach David Otti told me in one of the few conversations I had with him, that ‘championship teams were built from the back’ and most recently Real Madrid was famously referred to as a Mercedes Benz on old tyres.
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.