Mukono final disrupted by Latifah protest

Latifah Girls celebrate with their trophy. PHOTO/GEORGE KATONGOLE 

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The jubilant atmosphere of a championship match was shattered by protests from Latifah Mixed School Kabimbiri.

Disappointment filled the air at St Joseph's Naggalama on Wednesday as the Mukono District post primary boys' football final descended into chaos.

The jubilant atmosphere of a championship match was shattered by protests from Latifah Mixed School Kabimbiri.

Latifah's players, along with their cheering fans and even some school officials staged a dramatic sit-in right in the centre circle, a silent but powerful protest that halted the match kick off from 5:40 to 6:20pm.

St Julian School Seeta had successfully challenged Latifah's use of two players in the semifinal, claiming they were ineligible.  Latifah had beaten St Julian 2-1 in that match with Shakib Nazir and Elton Mulungi on the scoresheet, but whispers of foul play swirled.

St Julian had raised red flags before the semifinal kick-off, pointing out discrepancies in Ronald Kawalya and Shakib's registration documents.

Allegedly, Kawalya's license sported a 2003 birthdate, a violation of the tournament's rule restricting players to those born after 2004.

Shakib, on the other hand, had a license indicating a 2001 birth year, raising questions about his eligibility since he had also played for Kyambura Rasters in the Stanbic Uganda Cup.

The Uganda Secondary Schools Sports Association (USSSA) has clear guidelines on player eligibility. Article 7 (c) lays out documents used to verify age: pass slips, National Identification and Registration Authority (Nira) records, Education Management Information System (EMIS) data, USSSA registration licenses, and Fufa registration licenses. In cases of conflicting dates, the earliest documented date takes precedence.

The plot is thicker as Latifah Mixed SS is owned by Wilberforce Serugo, who is also the secretary of the Mukono District Schools Sports Association (MDSSA). Serugo cried foul, arguing that the committee's one-hour deliberation to decide the case was unfair and demanded a more thorough investigation.

"We were treated unfairly. How can the committee decide the case in just one hour? This case should have been delayed to allow us a fair hearing," Serugo said.

Stephen Kitooke, the MDSSA chairperson, was having none of it.  While promising to announce a new date for the final, he slammed Latifah Mixed School for their unsporting behaviour.

"We're determined to clean up our games in the district," he said. 

Kitooke urged schools to respect the rules and refrain from sending fans to disrupt matches. "Let's be disciplined," he pleaded.

Girls rejoice

Latifah girls stole the show in girls’ football despite facing a strong Mukono Kings team. Even with a depleted squad, Latifah's resilience shone through as they won the trophy 2-1 on penalties after a goalless draw.

Hamdan Islamic also won the netball prize, defeating St John's Kawuga in a thrilling 22-19 final. Both champions will now progress to the regional qualifiers in Buikwe District, where they'll battle for a spot at the Fresh Dairy Games in Masaka District.

The qualified teams will play in the regional qualifiers next weekend in Buikwe District to determine the representatives to the Fresh Dairy Games set to be held in Masaka District.

USSSA Games 2024

Mukono District finals


Hamdan 22-19 St John's Kawuga

Girls' football

Latifah 0-0 Mukono Kings (Pens. 2-1)

Boys' football

St Julian vs Mukono Kings (aborted)