Every great football rivalry has a beginning; and for the first time in history, West Nile rivals Arua Hill and Onduparaka FC will hold the city of Arua siege as they write the first chapter of the West Nile derby.
The two sides will face each other for the first time in the StarTimes Uganda Premier League when Arua Hill welcome their rivals to the Barifa Stadium on Tuesday.
Kick-off of the game is scheduled for 03:00 PM (1500 Hrs) and will be live on your Home of Sports Sanyuka TV.
All eyes will be on Arua to see who takes the city’s bragging rights. Onduparaka can rightly claim to be the big dogs in the region after four seasons in the top flight.
While clubs like Paidha Black Angels have risen recently to test Ondu’s might in West Nile, they have found the Caterpillars’ resolve hard to break. However, there has arisen a new challenger who many believe is very capable of knocking them off their perch.
The Leopards have swayed over a faction of admirers with their invincible rise from the second tier to the top division, and even more following their impressive 2-0 victory over champions Express on the opening day of the season.
And they will relish the opportunity to prove that they are a top division team should they get one over their rivals at a time when the scale of their demise since promotion in 2015 starting to be laid bare.
Onduparaka like an old lion whose territory is under threat from a younger challenger will want to send its roar through the plains of West Nile and remind doubters that they still reign.
The Caterpillars have chosen the run up to the game to remind the public and perhaps send a signal to their new neighbours of the club’s continued growth as a corporate organisation by announcing an extension of their partnership with AbaBet.
And there was a message from the head of communications at Onduparaka Mercy Munduru who declare:
“The who of Arua is gripped by euphoria about the game. Obviously, we want to win the game because of the magnitude that it holds, but we relish the challenge against Arua Hill. Hopefully, we can further enhance the level of football in the region.”
Meanwhile, Onduparaka chairman Benjamin Nyakuni said: “We have recruited young skilled players as we secure the future of the club. All the players, technical staff, management, and the fans are ready to push the club ahead at all times.”
The occasion held at the Skyz Hotel in Naguru also saw the club unveil their new kits plus squad for the 2021/22 season that also included returning captain Shaban Muhamad.
It has not been the return Shaban hoped for when he agreed to return to the Greenlight Stadium, but his efforts have helped the club collect four out of six points from their opening two games of the season.
After being held to a 1-1 draw against UPDF, Ondu recovered well to defeat Bright Stars 1-0 away from home, and head into the derby with the added incentive of at least being above their rivals albeit playing a game more.
But Shaban definitely relishes games of such magnitude, and much of the focus will be on how he can once again affect the big games for his boyhood club.
Arua Hill have several familiar faces within their ranks including CEO Anthony Fett, head of communication Otelul Vega, coach Livingstone Mbabazi and star players Gadaffi Wahab, Geriga Atendele and Faizul Ibrahim. And of course, there will be no love lost when action does get underway.
Tuesday, October 26, 2021 Fixtures (All Games kick off at 3:00 PM)
Arua Hill Vs Onduparaka – Barifa Stadium, Arua
BUL Vs Express – Kyabazinga Stadium, Jinja
Police Vs Wakiso Giants – MTN Omondi Stadium, Lugogo – Kampala
Tooro United Vs Gaddafi – Buhinga Stadium, Fort Portal
UPDF Vs Mbarara City – Army Military Barracks Staddium, Bombo
Wednesday, October 27, 2021
Busoga United Vs KCCA – FUFA Technical Centre, Njeru