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Saturday, April 1, 2023

How Wrexham's fan base has spread to Uganda

Wrexham Uganda FC

Wrexham fans are ready to cheer them on in the FA Cup, all the way from Africa.

Wrexham Uganda FC started in Kampala, Uganda, after getting help from the Welsh club and a charity.

Coach Kigozi Umar Walusimbi said his team have seen a “huge following” since Hollywood actor Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney bought the club in the UK.

He said he one day hoped to visit Wrexham where the National League side take on Championship club, Sheffield United, in the FA Cup fourth round.

“It’s a dream of mine,” he said.

Kigozi’s team was founded after charity Teams4U, based in Llay, Wrexham, visited the Ugandan capital in 2009 to help young children realise their dreams.

Kigozi was seven at the time but said he knew then that he wanted to become a coach one day – something he fits around his day job.

“My passion is developing these young children. I do my job tailoring, then I go training. It is stressful on me but it’s what I love.”

He said the club started with little equipment until Spencer Harris, a former director of Wrexham AFC provided some kit.

“That’s how we got to be known now,” said Kigozi.

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Wrexham Uganda FC

Wrexham Uganda FC

By 2017, the club had more than 700 children playing and an adult team has since been set up.

“Wrexham Uganda is now big. It’s known.

“These players train and their dream is to play for Wrexham,” he said.

“When I started it, the people from Wrexham were so helpful.

“If you have a dream here, it’s important to push it, and if you can push it, you live it.”

The club’s kit is sponsored by a Facebook group of Wrexham AFC supporters named “Wrexham Fans United” – something that Wyn Griffiths, 59, from Wrexham, helped to set up.

“The project seems to be growing all the time,” Mr Griffiths said.

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“Last season they formed a full men’s team in the Ugandan league.

“They use a version of the badge – so Wrexham fans will adopt them as another interesting team to keep an eye on,” he said.

“I just wanted to share the good fortune that we, as Wrexham fans, are experiencing at the moment.

“We know how lucky we are with Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney… so I thought it would be nice to share the good fortune.”

Kigozi said he was grateful for the support, was proud of the Wrexham name and he tries to watch Wrexham’s games through social media.

“People come to my [email] inbox from Wrexham and say, ‘coach, you can do it’,” he said.

“The most support we’ve got is from the people of Wrexham.”

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