There was little doubt that St Lawrence University (SLAU) were favourites to defend the national beach soccer league title. However, what left the spectators at the Fufa Technical Center in Njeru bewildered on Sunday was the ruthlessness and precision in which they executed the task at hand.
After dispatching hapless Mubs 6-1 in the semifinals, the stage was set for another epic final with last year's victims Buganda Royal who overcame KIU 7-3 in the other contest. Davis Nnono's SLAU had Baker Lukooya, Jonathan Kikonyogo, Allan Katwe, Joshua Lubwama, Brian Nkuubi and Rica Byaruhanga on the scoresheet against Mubs' Charles Ayeikho.
The final between SLAU and Buganda Royal was intense in the initial stages but soon the gulf in class favoured the former.
SLAU, winners in 2013, 2019, 2021 and 2022, clinched the final tie 9-5 to climax the season with an enviable unbeaten record.
Lukooya, who netted a brace in the finals, was deservedly named the season's Most Valuable Player (MVP) as SLAU dominated the best five selected team.
"I expected us to win the title because we were the better side. The MVP award just confirmed that I'm the best beach soccer player in the country. No one has ever defended the trophy and that shows what a mighty team SLAU is ," Lukooya told Daily Monitor. He is optimistic he will make the national team (Sand Cranes) team selection when the beach soccer Afcon qualifiers commence in October. Uganda will take Comoros in a double header to return to the continental showpiece.
"Our focus now will turn to the inaugural Caf beach soccer champions league in Morocco later this year and I believe with the experienced players we have, we will leave an indelible mark," he added.
Expect more from SLAU
Nnono says his triumphant team is reaping from the three-year bondage that has made them near invincibles.
"Consistency has been key in SLAU's four league trophies. We have kept our key players together and managed to add in youngsters like Farouk Ssemukutu, Jerima Anyamu and Bruno Bunyamu from the University league to bolster our squad depth," Nnono revealed.
SLAU 9-5 Buganda Royal
Mubs 5-2 KIU
- MVP – Baker Lukooya (SLAU)
- Top Scorer – Ambrose Kigozi (Buganda Royal) – 33 Goals
- Best Goalkeeper – Samson Kirya (Buganda Royal)
- Fair Play Award – Mutoola
Season Best 5
Samsom Kirya (GK)-Buganda Royal
Jonathan Kikonyogo- SLAU
Allan Katwe- SLAU
Baker Lukooya- SLAU
Ambrose Kigozi- Buganda Royal