Onduparaka is back to square one. We didn’t expect this. This was not supposed to happen. Four years ago, Onduparaka, commonly known as Caterpillars, were the big deal.
With probably the most passionate fans in the Startimes Uganda Premier League, lack of a stable source of income has sent Onduparaka to the basics.
It now appears as though head coach Vialli Bainomugisha must get the famous ‘mojo’ of the club back.
“We’re working within our means, it is deliberate and strategic. Good economics runs clubs for long. Every action is calculated and we’re sure we’ll reap the fruits,” chief executive Edison Shaban said.
Onduparaka’s financial struggles started when betting giants Betway pulled the plug off the lucrative deal that had risen from Shs160m to 600m in two years.
It’s now time to reconstruct. The pomp of the past is gone as they settled for a mid-table finish last term.
This was followed by a massive player exodus. Ibrahim Faizul, Gaddafi Wahab, Geriga Atendere, Faisal Anini, Dudu Ramathan, Vitalis Tabu and Kabon Living have left.
Ray of hope
It is not all doom and gloom. West Nile is a football talent hub and it should not surprise if little-known names like Bonny Musema impress and keep in line with the club motto: The Struggle Continues.
South Sudan international Augustine Akoch and fast-rising versatile wing back John Rogers Okumu, who was recently summoned to the national U-20 side, are the jewels.
Nigerian import Kenneth Makama also joins with expectations to fill the boots of Ceaser Okhuti.
Gabriel Matata, who scored 19 goals in 28 games for Mvara Boys, is a hot prospect and could cause shock waves in the league.
His goal-glut is joined by another youngster Kennedy Atibuni who is credited with 23 goals for Regional League side Diamond Stars.
“I love scoring goals. My game is about attacking and I always look to create chances,” Atibuni said.
Bainomugisha has also added goalkeepers Augustine Opoka (Busoga United) and Michael Kagiri (URA), defender Ronald Odokonyero (URA) and midfielder Moses Okot (Bright Stars).
The onus is now on the former Kigezi HomeBoys and Kabale Sharp coach to harness this potential on his first full assignment in UPL.
Outfield players Augustine Akoch
Steven Akena Jr
Joel Jangeyambe Mahdi Toto Ajobe