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Friday, January 25, 2008

Arsenal, SA bring untold joy

Breathtaking impeccable, amazing, irresistible, awesome! That and more was the grain of words Arsenal fanatics used to describe the style of the unassailable Arsenal after it was crowned the 2004-2005 English Premiership Barclaycard champion.

It was a beautiful Saturday afternoon when the gunners became the first side to sweep through the entire season unbeaten. Only Preston North End managed that feat in the 1888-1889 soccer premiership season with only 22 league games.

But last weekend Arsenal went 40 games without a sting making a record that may never be broken. With such footballing, soccer lovers at this hill had reason to jubilate.
There was a feel of making merry round all the halls of residence and hostels around campus. Students sang hosanna, celebrating as if they belonged to Highbury.

It was clear that soccer is so deeply ingrained in the veins of campusers. The real action was at Mitchell hall the true land of Arsenal maniacs. Manchester United fans scared of what would come with the party feigned sickness and excused themselves.

Then students engaged their wits citing Thierry Henry as the finest, smoothest, most fabulous soccer player the world over. In the most graceful and profound style, the French phenomenon netted 30 premier goals.

Makerereans joined the party at Club silk to celebrate with the rest of the Arsenal-Uganda supporters and justifiably so. Drinks flowed; goers and converts alike entertained themselves with chants of Bebe Cool’s Arse, Arse Arsenal yasinga! The rest of Ivory Tower stayed put with red Arsenal jerseys all around; the joy of such magnitude could blind even monks.

The comical twist of the electrifying partying however, was failure to tell who was celebrating what. South Africa winning the bid to host the 2010 World Cup coincided with the Arsenal celebratory jamboree to pave way for more bittersweet ecstasy. A girl who was crying said the humiliation Arsenal went through had finally paid off.

"Everyone knew the treble was ours until Man U buried our hopes of retaining the FA cup. Chelsea then kicked our ass out of Champions League. And now Arsenal makes history, goes the entire season unbeaten, Henry takes the top goal scorers’ medal, is voted players’ best player, Arsenal wins premiership, South Africa is to host the 2010 World cup, it's too good to be true," she said as tears run down her cheeks.

Many others shed tears of joy. Campus was ripe with whistle blowing, drumming and dancing and shouting. For them, Arsenal had reaped more than a treble. And they boozed to show it. In canteens beer quickly run out stock.

Volumes of radios and television sets were turned up as students grappled to catch the latest commentary on South Africa and Arsenal's winning ways.
Nelson Mandela’s speech touched most of the girls. Earlier in the day, CNN had got him live shedding a tear or two. He said he felt like a boy of 15 following South Africa's triumph over Morocco. Many students believe this is a lifetime chance to watch the World Cup live come 2010.

"I’ll be doing my Masters Degree in South Africa. I guess it will open a door for me to watch a game or two," Michael a Drama student said.

So all night long, the party went on as people toasted for the honour South Africa will bring to the rest of Africa when it hosts the 2010 World Cup, and Arsenal for beautifying the good game of soccerR!

Published in Daily Monitor, May 22, 2004