SPORT. Five goals in the opening half and another three in the second secured KCCA FC probably their biggest win in recent times in Uganda’s top tier premier football competition.
The December 8th fixture at the renamed MTN Philip Omondi stadium Lugogo will go into history books as the worst outing of Onduparaka against the Kasasiro boys as KCCA FC are nicknamed.
Despite an already poor record against the Lugogo outfit that most if not all analysts had predicted a smooth win and rightly so for KCCA, a score line as high as eight unanswered goals was not imaginable.
Indeed the caterpillars had previously swallowed seven goals on February 25th 2017 and later another four goals on October 11th 2019 in a host of fixtures that have ‘ended in tears’ for the Arua based green army.
This latest one sided goal thriller has left many asking what the real problem is with Onduparaka FC and whether they will survive the league in their more than half a decade in the top tier.
Their accusations are not based on account of the defeat which is understandable but the vulnerability that led to the defeat.
Inspection and Licencing saga
Before the express game I had a chat with the Onduparaka football club media officer Mr Mark Lulua who intimated to me that the Federation of Uganda football association (FUFA) team cleared Green light stadium for use a week to the start of the games.
However during the same chat, I was clearly told that procedure only allows that a club venue must first be cleared before kick-starting the process of licensing.
That only left the club with less than a seven-day period to complete licensing of the players or risk losing the fixture to express without any kick of the ball.
A day before the express game, indeed Coach Viali Byanomugisha acknowledged that he had no idea which players would be eligible because the club CEO had not arrived from Kampala.
Additionally, COVID-19 tests had been done for the entire team and yet no single person knew their fate, the team lived with the fear and anxiety that usually comes with the test of the deadly pandemic if confirmed positive.
On match day, only 13 players had been cleared and were just thrown on the pitch to play whatever position they could fill, it later occurred that the reserve keeper, who had only spent a few days with the team was brought on to fill a void by Moses Okot after the latter got injured.
The only other substitute and outfield player Jamal Salim had by this time been used, express got a red card but due to this lack of depth, the numerical advantage counted for nothing.
Nevertheless in their capacity, the remnant team fought with the last drop of their blood, those who had no idea of the happenings must have thought Onduparaka has either a bad team or a bad coach, but given the circumstances, that one point was priceless.
Fast forward to the KCCA encounter, many expected the licensing limbo to have been put to rest but to ones utter surprise, the same scenario nearly repeated itself.
Influential midfielder Oscar Agaba was taken off the team sheet at the last minute due to the same licensing saga reportedly because he had only a soft copy of his licence which the match officials feared could be forged.
The boys had just played on Saturday before travelling over 500km the next day, Monday was the only day for preparations before Tuesday’s terror on the Lugogo artificial turf.
The largely young and inexperienced Onduparaka side was utterly exposed, on the exact contrary, KCCA players exhibited authority and confidence to levels that one would be forgiven for thinking that their opponents were high school students.
But a little more contemplation, it was clear to see why this was happening, Onduparaka had not prepared for this game and it wasn’t because they didn’t want to. These were just two different sides.
What lies ahead?
Onduparaka’s bulk of players scattered due to a reported deepening financial crisis last season and with the COVID-19 pandemic taking centre stage in every activity, it’s unlikely that the financial storm will end soon.
The new young and yet inexperienced breed need to brace themselves for this reality, otherwise the talented Matata Gabriel, Allan Busobozi, Kabon Living, Okot Denis etc. risk losing confidence and eventually their talent.
‘Cricket score lines’ as seen in the KCCA-Onduparaka game are likely to be more often, the more established institutional clubs being the victors over their fan-supported but financially crippled opponents.
The divide in the Ugandan league appears clearer thanks to COVID-19 but for those that advocate for a more competitive league, their hopes may likely turn into more fears.
For now Onduparaka FC is the face of the new divide in the league because of their humiliating defeat but more than what meets the eye, this was just a mere symptom, the actual problems are much bigger.