JINJA – – Busoga Masaza Cup 2016 champions Butembe needed Mugomba Kalulu’s 73rd minute strike to settle a feisty season-opening clash with Buzaaya at St Gonzaga Gonza ground in Kagoma on Saturday.
Butembe, who are intent on dethroning Kigulu, the champions who have held onto the trophy for an extended two years due to Covid-19 pandemic disruptions, left everything on the pitch and for the watching Kyabazinga William Nadiope, kingdom officials and a mammoth crowd to feast on.
Kyabazinga Nadiope kicked off the long-awaited fifth edition of the tournament after autographing on the official match ball that he later juggled to the amusement of the subjects.
Fans started trekking to Buwenge as early as midday for the Saturday encounter in which Buzaaya County frustrated the more determined Butembe in the first half and looked like they were good for a share of the spoils until Kalulu happened.
The hard-fought victory lifted Butembe top of Group A that also has Budiope County.
The significance of sports in promoting unity in society cannot be overemphasized and the Busoga Masaza Cup demonstrated how powerful football can be in fostering unity for social transformation.
After Kyabazinga Nadiope had juggled and kicked the first ball to open the tournament at which lead sponsors MTN and their partners Mayuge Sugar made their presence felt, all the 14 participating teams paid their respects to the king, with Owek Daniel Musota inviting Bulamogi team for special respects.
The ground was filled with ululations as the team prostrated before the king in what showed that the recent hiccups in the kingdom could as well be gone with sports.
The kingdom premier Owek Joseph Muvawala reiterated his call to the participating teams to exhibit discipline throughout the tournament with emphasis on promoting unity and togetherness for the good of Busoga.
Dr Muvawala’s first deputy Owek Muhamadi Lubega commended the soccer fans for gracing the game in large numbers.
MTN chief executive Wim Vanhelleputte excited the fans by starting his speech in Lusoga, speaking of how the telecom giants cherished and treasured culture as a key identity for their clients.
Vanhelleputte said MTN Uganda sponsored the recently concluded Tooro Kingdom Masaza Cup, so it is “inevitable for us to associate with a pro-people initiative like the Busoga Masaza Cup.”
This year’s edition is running under the theme, “Talent Identification,Development and Promotion.”
All present were Kingdom officials led by Isabalangira of Busoga Sam Menha Kakaire Nkuutu, Owek.George William Mutyabule, kingdom sports minister Owek Amin Bbosa, MPs led by Brandon Kintu, Mariam Naigaga, Manjeri Kyebanakutika, Martin Muzaale, Moses Katali, former MP Grace Balyeku, and Monica Namukose Kamagu Nnalongo among others.