Amus gets silver in dramatic ISF World Cup final

Amus College boys pose for a group photo in China. The Bukedea team lost the second consecutive final on Sunday in China adding to the USSSA final in Masaka. PHOTO/GEORGE KATONGOLE 

What you need to know:

Having finished 17th in their debut last year, Amus displayed incredible improvement, dominating possession early and forcing the Chinese defence to work.

Amus College fought back twice but fell to China 5-3 on penalties in the thrilling ISF Football World Cup final held at the Suoyuwan Stadium in Dalian, China.

Second-half substitute Genesis Odiya Ocen's penalty was denied by goalkeeper Zijie Qu, leaving the fate of Amus College hanging. Junbo Liu stepped forward, his composed shot finding the net and crushing Ugandan dreams.

The electric atmosphere at Suoyuwan Stadium added to the magic of the final. Deft touches from both teams had the crowd roaring as they battled it out for victory.

Having finished 17th in their debut last year, Amus displayed incredible improvement, dominating possession early and forcing the Chinese defence to work.

Intense

Amus College came out firing, dominating possession and pinning China in their own half.  However, a patient Chinese side calmly built their attacks from the back, forcing Amus goalkeeper Ben Sinalya into an early save. 

Despite Amus' strong midfield presence and reliance on wingers for crosses, they couldn't find the breakthrough. Their frustration grew as the Chinese defense held firm.

China took the lead in the second minute of added time after an incisive pass split Amus' midfield leaving the aggressive Chengyu Liu, a prototype of Erling Haaland, to score in an empty net.

The second half saw a more aggressive China. Their attacking pressure drew a yellow card for Amus captain Brian Majub Toto.

Adding more firepower, Amus replaced their leading scorer, Hakim Musabbah, with Odiya in the 53rd minute. The substitution paid off as Amus became more relentless. Their persistence was rewarded in the 56th minute when Davis Busuulwa capitalised on a defensive lapse. He outpaced his marker and lobbed the ball over the stranded Chinese goalkeeper Xianrong Su for the equaliser.

Amus continued to threaten, with Wasangwa nearly adding a second from a corner and Sinalya making a crucial save. However, China retook the lead through a powerful left-footed shot by Chengyu in the 78th minute. Despite Xianrong being subbed off with a suspected hamstring injury, Amus refused to give up. A last-ditch free kick by Sharif Hussein found Busuulwa's head, sending the ball into the net and forcing the match into a penalty shootout.

The drama continued in the penalty shootout. While Fahim Dramazan, Hussein, and Samuel Adoa Owalamu converted for Uganda, Odiya's attempt was saved by the Chinese goalkeeper. Junbo Liu then sealed China's victory with a composed penalty, securing them a double win – both the boys' and girls' teams emerged victorious, with the girls defeating Kenya 5-4 on penalties.

Uganda enjoyed a successful showing at the tournament.

Bukedea Comprehensive secured a bronze medal, and St. Mary's College Kisubi and Amus College's girls' teams finished in placement matches.

Amus Starting XI: Ben Sinalya (GK); Alvin Ssekamatte (20), John Brian Otim (3), Brian Majub Toto (4), Christopher Lubuuka (12), Shafiq Wasangwa (17), Sharif Hussein (15), Osama Baakole (6), Bashir Mansur (10), Hakim Musabbah (11), Davis Busuulwa (5)

Subs: Jamil Edi Rashid (GK), Fahim Dramazan (8), Adbul Razak Muzamir (7), Genesis Odiya Ocen (13), Hafidhu Ssembatya (14), Usama Chagamo (18), Samuel Adoa Owalamu (19).