STANBIC UGANDA CUP
Booma 1-5 BUL
MASINDI – When referee Ali Sabilla called for water break 30 minutes into the Stanbic Uganda Cup semifinal mismatch between Booma and Bul on Tuesday, the hosts could have been forgiven for sighing deeply that their torment was coming to an end.
Only a water break, it was. The regional side had to return to not only complete the first half but also the entire match, toiling abjectly under the superiority of their topflight visitors. Yet if Booma thought it was painful to endure a 5-1 humbling inside the Masindi municipal ground, they will have to think again.
The punishment is not even started. Next week, the 263km distance between Masindi and Jinja will be arduous for a team that is literally out of the Cup final talk as they endure a nine-hour round trip for the second leg of the semifinal.
Simon Peter Oketch scored twice inside 12 minutes, either side of Richard Wandyaka’s 10th minutes strike to all but render the second leg a tourism guise — Leonard Mujuwa’s 21st minute consolation proving just that.
Bul, finalists last year who were humiliated 8-1 by Vipers, had arrived in Masindi with intent to pour all sorts of edible oils on Booma’s Cinderella party. And they did just that, with Oketch turning the party into a pity inside five minutes when he connected beautifully with Karim Ndugwa’s cross to get referee Sabilla noting down the first score.
When Wandyaka found the back of the net on ten minutes, there was obvious realisation in the minds of the fans who have vociferously carried this regional team into the semifinal at the first time of asking. They had beaten Nyamityobora, Kajjansi, Tipsa and Maroons, all sides in the second to regional tier level.
Now they could see the grade of topflight football. And Bul had not arrived at their backyard as just any other StarTimes Uganda Premier League side but one that could well have been the team pushing Vipers for the league crown had coach Alex Isabirye not shifted attention to this Cup so early in time.
Ibrahim Kazindula just about confirmed that any thoughts of a comeback had already been quenched in the water break earlier, putting the visitors four goals and three to the good of aggregate soon after the recess. It turned into a procession by the time Ndugwa converted just after the hour-mark.
It is as well that Jinja City offers so much scenery for a visiting side from Kitara region like Booma. They surely can do with the picturesque New River Nile Bridge even if for a fleeting moment lasting barely a minute as they cross the Nile into Bugembe for the return leg.
Coach Isabirye could as well reshuffle his team for the home leg as they prepare to confront either Vipers or Mbarara City, who meet in the second semifinal.
Isabirye has previously blamed fatigue for their humiliating Cup final defeat to Vipers so perhaps there will be no excuses this time round.