The StarTimes Uganda Premier League organisers and Fufa sent the football fraternity in a frenzy at the weekend by mooting another competitive event.
The process of coming up with two teams to compete in the inaugural ‘All-Star Game’ on September 27 remains debatable but league sponsors StarTimes are convinced Ugandans will vote over phone and internet to come out with the best assemblage.
To spice it up further, the organisers have tapped into the experience of coaches Mike Mutebi and Sam Ssimbwa to stage an emotional face-off even when they are both club-less at the moment.
They have also dug into the football folklore to name the competing teams after departed legends Paul Hasule (former SC Villa and Uganda Cranes coach/player) and Jimmy Kirunda (former KCCA and Uganda Cranes mercurial defender).
“We welcome the tournament because it replaces the Fufa Super 8 that couldn’t be held because of fixture congestion,” Decolas Kizza, the assistant Fufa CEO in charge of football, revealed.
“Having these experienced coaches in charge gives it zeal and reason to be excited.”
The league action is scheduled to start on October 15 with the audition match earmarked to get the players and fans in the groove mood.
“I’m privileged to be part of this event and I’ll to make Team Hasule win because he was my captain on the national team. I urge fans to pick their best players for us to arrange them into a winning unit,” Ssimbwa, who parted ways with URA in June, said.
Time to rebuild
Ssimbwa’s contemporary Mutebi views this as a wakeup call for local football to rebuild. “It (the match) is a good intervention. For the last 10 years we’ve been rotating around the same players,” Mutebi said.
“I will be part of the best player ever - the late Kirunda aka ‘the Kaiser’ - and we will do our best to try to open up to promote young players, we want to promote our own.”
StarTimes publicist Christine Nagujja said the pandemic has pushed them to adapt an all-encompassing football format they believe will leave an impact.
“The All-Star Game is the first of its kind in Uganda. We want to ensure that by the end of our 10-year league sponsorship, we have made a mark on local football,” she said.
“We chose these two coaches because of their history and consistency,” she said.
Nagujja said they held a consent meeting with all the 16 UPL clubs in Kampala and they expect each player selected to turn up for the September 27 match in Kampala.
PAUL EDWIN HASULE
Born November 20, 1959, Hasule captained Uganda Cranes and enjoyed an illustrious career at SC Villa both as a player and coach, winning 21 titles in totl. Hasule died on April 26, 2004.
Born in 1950, Kirunda captained the Cranes and was part of the historic team that reached the Afcon 1978 finals in Ghana. The sweeper nicknamed Kaizer played for Villa, KCC and Express. He died on May 25, this year
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