Kirya: No favourites in Masaza Cup final

Friday March 19 2021
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Kabaka Ronald Mutebi launches the Masaza Cup in 2019. While the Buganda king might attend the final, it will be a quiet game compared to past finals that filled Namboole stadium to capacity. PHOTO/JOHN BATANUDDE

By George Katongole

The 2020 Airtel Masaza Cup final between record champions Gomba and 2016 winners Buddu is too close to call according to Ibrahim Kirya.

The Gomba head coach and SC Villa deputy said early this week that: “It’s difficult to say any one team is favourite. Both teams have their own advantages.”

And when asked about Gomba’s chances of lifting the fifth trophy, Kirya said the players are ready to fight.

“I believe we are going to play our best game. The rest we had is just enough and the conditions at Kitende will not be alien to us because we played all qualifying games on the artificial turf at Njeru,” Kirya said.

Kirya will be looking to make amends for a side that has lost four times in the final with the latest coming in 2017.

The previous two seasons have particularly been hard for Gomba as they exited the tournament in the quarterfinals in 2018 before getting eliminated in the groups in 2019.

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“It’s been a long time since our fans celebrated a trophy and this time we need to make them happy,” Kirya said.

The delayed final will be played behind closed doors with only 200 invited guests expected to attend. Organisers conducted Covid-19 PCR tests on Tuesday with other Standard Operating Procedures, including wearing masks, social distancing and washing hands or sanitising expected to be in place.
Buddu eye second chance
Buddu, who have struggled for consistency on the pitch, have another bite at the cherry after last season’s frustrating semi-final loss to Busiro. The maladministration of the team cost them. But a new generation of leaders has been ushered in Jude Muleke as the county chief.

Buddu head coach Michael Lukyamuzi has this time set his eyes on the trophy
“Our fans really need to be rewarded with a trophy. We’ll do our best to have this trophy again. I feel we’ve a good chance. Although Gomba have good players, we’ve to bring our best game in the match,” he said.

When the teams met in the groups at Njeru, there was nothing to separate them as they played out a 1-1 draw.

Buddu will line up Isaac Musiima, a youngster with deft feet and calmness complemented by Hamis Ssemugera with striker Frank Sebuufu lying in wait.

Gomba has depth and talent with poacher Charles Bbaale the man to look out for. But how Juma Lutakome, dead ball specialist George Kaddu, Derrick Mbowa and winger Jackson Ssemugabi as well as skipper Abdallah Ssentongo, perform, will be crucial.

Airtel Masaza Cup
FINAL - TODAY | LIVE ON BBS TV 
Gomba    vs.    Buddu    3pm
Classification game
Busiro     vs.    Bulemeezi    12pm
Venue
St Mary’s Stadium, Kitende

Cash prizes
Champion    Shs12m
1st runners-up    Shs9m
2nd runners-up    Shs7m
Fourth    Shs5m
gkatongole@ug.nationmedia.com
 

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