By Frank Semata
St. Mary’s Kitende have lifted their 9th Copa Coca Cola championship cup in a 3 – 1 victory over Jinja Secondary School in an enthralling encounter at Kakindu stadium in Jinja.
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 but in the 8th minute, striker Laurence Tezikya sent the Jinja SS fans into delirium after scoring their only goal and his 13th of this tournament.
St. Mary’s Kitende tried their luck on the goal several times in the first half but could not get a chance on the goal.
But as the occasion threatened to get away from the Kitende boys, coach Male Daniel made a change in their side as the second half of the game 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.
Jinja SS put up a tactical display but fell apart after 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 which prompted police to fire back teargas. The game had to be halted for about fifteen minutes as clam was restored.
Jinja SS was unable to use the break to regroup and the referee blew the whistle with the game still at 3-1. St Mary’s Kitende were the victors.
The chief guest AIGP Andrew Sorowen, who represented the minister of education and sports, Hon Bakkabulindi said, “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.” He advised students to stay away from drugs and alcoholic drinks.
The FUFA representative also noted that there is alot of raw talents in schools that need to be tapped. “We will not allow any member on the technical bench without minimum coaching qualification.” he added.
This 27th Copa Coca Cola competition 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 Laurence of Jinja SS who scored 13 goals, he 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.