The year began on a high for Ugandan football as the Uganda Cranes were leading their AFCON qualifying Group with four points from two games having beaten Angola 3-0 at Namboole and then drew goal less with Kenya in Nairobi. Then the local based players had qualified for Chan competitions in Khartoum. However, they put up a poor display failing to emerge from a group that had Sudan, Gabòn and
Algeria scoring only one goal in the tournament – a penalty cönverted by Saddam Juma.
The Kobs also qualified for the Maputo All Africa Games which was a land mark given they had last done so in 1999 in South Africa where they lost in the semis to Cameroon. But still, they failed to qualify from the group stages and left the competitiön with out scoring a goal.
In the same year, the Uganda Cranes broke the 11 year jinx of failure to win away from home in AFCON and World cup qualifying matches. They won 1-0 away to Guinea Bissau courtesy of a David Obua strike coupled with a vintage display by Denis Onyango who even saved a penalty in the game.
USL-FUFA row was the controversy of the year as personal egos almost put football to the death beds. The highest pinnacle of this wrangle saw a number of teams refuse to participate in the first games of the season. Bidco FC and Proline FC took centre stage as they refused to kick start the league if FUFA does not sanction it. Even up to now, there is diversity in the super league table with FUFA and USL having different table standings.
The Bell Uganda Super League is back on T.V after UsL partnered with Dstv in a deal believed to be the highest achievement of the year in football. Every Tuesday and Friday, the whole African continent can now have a glimpse of our game on SS9. In the same year, The Uganda Cranes failed to qualify for AFCON 2012 despite leading their group from the on set. In what will be the darkest day in Ugandan football for some time to come, the Kenyan Harambe stars held Uganda Cranes to a goal less draw at fortress Namboole stadium thus losing top spot to Angola who won away 2-0 in Guinea Bissau. It was the saddest day in Uganda football in the year as Cranes missed chance after chance till the 90 minutes elapsed.
At the end of the game, Andrew Patrick Luwadaga the day’s mc said “AGAIN UGANDA FAILS TO QUALIFY, YOU WENT DOWN BOYS, BUT YOU WENT DOWN WITH A FIGHT, WE ARE STILL PROUD OF YOU”. It almost broke my heart but then i came to realise that football is not for the faint hearted. In a surprise of the year, David Obua was dismissed from camp on the eve of the most important game of the campaign for allegedly refusing to hold on and meet president Museveni in what many term as the blunder of the year.
In the same year, the Uganda Cranes won a record 12th cecafa title cementing their position as the kings of the region. Year 2011 also saw clubs Bunamwaya and SC.VILLA open up club websites and for the first time in Ugandan football, Proline and SC Villa held Player Awards Ceremony in colourful events held in Jinja and Sheraton Hotel respectively.
In addition, SC.VILLA set up a club T.V, the first of its kind in E. Africa. Player monthly awards were also introduced in the league for the first time with Bonny Baigana (EXPRESS) and Ronald Lukungu (MASAKA L.C) the inaugraul winners. SC.VILLA for the first time ends the year in relegation zone as their bitter rivals EXPRESS F.C calmly sit on top of the league table.
2011 was a year when many soccer players have left the country to ply their trade else where. Sadam Juma, Kizito Baba, Ntambi Chrizestom, Manko Kaweesa, Kisekka Henry, Owen Kasule (all Vietnam), Mike Mutyaba (Sudan), Diego Hamis (Tanzania), Isinde Isaac, Odöngkara Robert, Mike Sserumaga (all Ethiopia). The year has been agony and ecstasy to many i must say but October 8th will always stand out as the heartbreaking for many soccer lovers. Happy new year!