Having groped in Kitende’s darkness for nine years and being stopped at the group stages of this competition last year, Kibuli S.S, the record holders, went to Gulu with their work concisely cut out.
Win the trophy and rise or fail and wallow in oblivion. When opportunity met preparation, as Oprah Winfrey says, Lady Luck was born unto them as they defeated Arua’s Mvara S.S 1-0 to emerge Copa Coca-Cola champions a record ninth time, Saturday.
While Farouk Sentongo lost the Most Valuable Player (MVP) award to Arua Public’s Shaban Muhamad, his Kibuli teammates know there was no better player than him.
Even when some of his teammates looked nervous during the post-match shoot-out, Sentongo stepped up to take the ultimate kick as Kibuli dumped the stubborn Citizens High School in semi-finals.
In the final, he again proved decisive, scoring the sole goal that won his side the ninth trophy, that had been as elusive as has La Decima to Real Madrid.
In a so-so affair, Sentongo rose to slot home a Steven Sande free-kick on 30 minutes.
Sentongo, an S.6 student who could have been in P.5 the year Kibuli last won it, shared his joy with this reporter. “I’m delighted for having contributed to this record,” the playmaker said. “It’s a big honour for me to score in the final”.
In a tournament, where minnows shocked giants like Kitende, Old Kampala, et al, Mvara S.S, though, first-time finalists, were expected to upset Kibuli at the dilapidated, Pece Stadium, considering the way they dispatched eventual bronze medallists, Mehta High in the semis. They didn’t show up though.
They lacked their usual urgency and for long spells, Kibuli kept them in their half.
Their coach Stanley Okuti blames it on fatigue. “Our boys were exhausted due to tough consecutive games since we qualified from group stages”.
And some could not help breaking into tears after the final whistle.
Mvara 0-1 Kibuli
Mehta 2-1 Citizens H
Roll of honour
2014 – Kibuli
2013 – Kitende
2012 – Kitende
2011 – Kitende
2010 – Bishop Nankyama
2009 – Buddo SS
2008 – Kitende
MVP – Muhamad Shaban (Arua Public)
Top scorer – Ramathan Tamale (Nakaseke International): 14 goals
526 – Goals scored
17- Red cards
356 – Yellow cards