Saturday May 3 2014

Copa Coca-cola boy lands World Cup trip

Oshaba being interviewed by South African TV channel SABC last

Oshaba being interviewed by South African TV channel SABC last year. The Ntare student captained Uganda’s Dream Team to South Africa last year. Courtesy photo  

By Sande Bashaija

Gulu- For an average Ugandan, travelling to Brazil for next month’s Fifa World Cup is a far- fetched dream.

It’s too expensive a venture that very few Ugandans can afford. But one lucky young footballer will make the June 12-July 13 tournament without spending a coin.

Marvin Oshaba has been selected by Coca-cola as Uganda’s flag bearer at the world’s biggest soccer showpiece. The soft drink manufacturers will foot Oshaba’s bills. The Ntare School boy’s soccer skills came to light during last year’s Copa Coca-cola Secondary Schools tournament in Kabale.

Although Ntare didn’t perform well, Oshaba was picked among the tournament’s 14 best players.

The 16-year-old was named captain as the side travelled to South Africa for the Africa Copa Coca-cola camp. “That boy has a big heart,” Kennedy Mutenyo, the Century Bottling Company promotions manager, who travelled with the team, noted. “He performed so well in South Africa.”

Ntare failed to qualify for this year’s Copa Coca-cola currently going on in Gulu but Oshaba will complain less. Instead, some good players featuring in the Gulu event will feel they deserved a shot at the World Cup ticket.

“We would have loved to select one of the players in this year’s tournament to represent us in Brazil,” Mutenyo explained, “but we were constrained by time. “We were asked to submit the credentials of our flag bearer months a go so Orishaba was the number one pick since he captained the team last year.” “But the best players this year will also have their chance. We’ll take them for a camp in Nairobi.” 58 schools are taking part in the Gulu tournament.

St Mary’s Kitende, yet to be beaten in Gulu, are favourites to defend their trophy. But having lost to Standard High-Zzana in the Wakiso Region qualifiers semifinals, Kitende no longer carry that fear factor. Top sides like St Juliana-Gayaza and record champions Kibuli will fancy their chances.

“This year was our first time to lose in the qualifiers but that hasn’t affected our confidence,” Ronald Ssali, one of the Kitende coaches, said. “We have the capacity to go on and defend our title.”