BY FRANK SEMATA
St. Marys Kitende lifted their 9th Copa coca cola championship title after a 3 – 1 victory over Jinja Secondary School in an enthralling encounter at Kakindu stadium in Jinja on Saturday afternoon.
The game began at a barnstorming pace and some fans had barely taken to their seats when centre referee Ronald Kayondo cancelled a Jinja SS goal in the 4th minute for a foul play on the Kitende shot stopper.
However, in the 8th minute, striker Lawrence Tezikya sent the Jinja SS fans into delirium after scoring their only goal and his 13th goal of this tournament for the team to take the lead.
St. Marys Kitende tried out their luck on the goal often times of the first half but their efforts proved futile.
As the occasion threatened to get away from the Kitende boys, team coach Male Daniel made a change on their side as the second half kicked off to bring on Umar Kibatala who after just five minutes into the game dived to convert an air ball into the back of the net to equalize.
Intensity grew further as Jinja SS put up a tactical display but this could not last long when Yiga Najib scored the second goal to give lead to the Wakiso based side after a poor ball control from the Jinja SS goal keeper.
As Jinja SS players tried to compose themselves, Umar Kibatala dribbled past the defenders and scored the third goal to bring victory for St. Marys Kitende a few minutes to end of time.
The Jinja S.S fans could not hold their bitterness as they jumped the fence and invaded the pitch prompting police to fire back with teargas at them bringing the game to a halt and after about fifteen minutes, matters returned to normal and the game resumed but Jinja SS could not yield any efforts until the referee blew the last whistle.
The chief guest Andrew Solowen, AIGP who represented the minister of education and sports, Hon Bakabulindi applauded the tournament organisers for such an initiative.
“This tournament helps students to acquire skills, exposure of talent, raising standards in the competition and helping FUFA to spot talent for the national team,”Sorowen said.
He advised students to stay away from drugs and alcoholic drinks.
This 27th edition of the Copa coca cola tournament had 206 matches played, 297 yellow cards, 23 red cards and 554 goals scored.
The prize for the Most Valuable Player (MVP) was awarded to Mukisa Edwin Opala of St. Marys Kitende, the top scorer prize was won by Tezikya Lawrence of Jinja SS who scored 13 goals.
Tzikya was also the top scorer in this tournament in 2017 and 2018.
St. Marys Kitende, Jinja SS, Buddo SS and Standard high Zana will represent Uganda in the East African schools competitions that will be hosted in Tanzania later this year.