JINJA. Lively fans in the packed Kakindu Stadium could have been applauding for either of two reasons in the Copa Coca-Cola games.
Either they recognised the scale of Mbarara High’s achievement in rising above the rest with little investment.
Or they appreciated the glorious nature of how they play - with gusto and genuine heart. “It’s one of the loveliest things that you can experience in football,” Mbarara High coach Farouk Kiige said of the ovation his team received in the 0-0 draw against Nakaseke International.
In the balmy afternoon sun it felt like a rare moment of equilibrium in the footballing universe, where everyone agreed that Mbarara High was right to have won. For them to do what they did on Wednesday obviously required huge amounts of skill and focus - you don’t get close to winning fans’ applauses if you are not Kitende, Jinja SS, Kibuli or Buddo, without that stuff in substantial quantities.
Kiige, who has been at Hill View Bulangira before going west last year imparted his ethic about working harder and wanting to win. What’s more, Mbarara High have been unrelenting this far, keeping a clean sheet in three games.
Kiige has managed to get his act together riding on the genius of Calvin Emayu, the skill of Paul Kakuru, the resilience of Nyamityobora goalkeeper Denis Otim and Titus Wambede’s industry.
xThey are grouped with St Mary’s Kitende and their meeting on Monday at 2pm could feel like a justifiable practice match to their finish. Whereas Mbarara High have built their team to work hard for each other, the helping hand of former student Willis Bamwesigye, a Kampala businessman, who offered bursaries to some of the players, is a humbling finding.
The only shame is that after this year’s final, this team will probably be pulled apart by schools with enough money because reality always intervenes at the end of the story.
THURSDAY SELECTED RESULTS
Royal Giant 1-1 St John Kauga
JICO 0-0 Mbale Progressive
Loro 1-1 Sentah
Kigezi College 1-1 St Andrea Kaahwa
Paidha 2-3 Standard High
Uganda Martyrs 2-1 Musedde
Mandela 1-3 Lira Town
Nakaseke In’tl 7-1 Ngora
Fort Portal 0-1 Mbarara High
Iganga Parents 0-5 Kitende
St Julian 0-1 Kitovu
St Joseph Layibi 1-1 Amus
Nyangilia 0-1 Kamwenge