SC Villa’s return to Masaka was not only memorable for striker Emmanuel Okwi and the locals but also for the sleeping giant that is struggling to find its feet again.
Okwi’s hat-trick was more than enough as the 16 time league winners defeated Onduparaka 4-1 at Masaka Reaction Grounds on Sunday
Infront of a decent crowd that has been thirsty for top-flight football since 2012/2013 when Masaka Local Council was relegated, Villa had a chance to get the lead as early as the second minute after Sibir Simba handled the ball in the forbidden area but Emmanuel Okwi rattled the crossbar from 12 yards.
Okwi wasn’t going to be denied again. A long ball from Ambrose Kirya was misjudged by Richard Anyama, Okwi controlled before faking Rashid Toha and placing in an empty net.
Villa faithfuls had come in big numbers from Kampala but also within, and yes they made sure they were louder than their Onduparaka counterparts.
Ten minutes after Okwi’s opener, Onduparaka’s defensive lapses continued, Ivan Mbowa played a back pass with his head but it wasn’t strong enough and helpless Anyama couldn’t stop Kirya’s strong powerful ground shot for Villa’s second.
Anyama finally pulled off something special, stopping Alex Kitata’ header off Okwi’s cross from the right. The resulting corner was poorly dealt with and Okwi who was scoring his fifth of the season slotted home his second of the game.
Two minutes after recess, Rashid Toha handled the ball in the area but referee Ali Kaddu stood his ground.
Martin Kizza was turning Onduparaka’s defense inside out every time he had the chance to do so, and yes the display won him more fans. He failed to find the back of the net but his shot after 58 minutes hit the woodwork before deflecting off Anyama’s shin for a corner.
Villa and introduced Umar Kasumba and Vitalis Tabu for Alex Kitata and Martin Kizza respectively in search for more goals.
Moments later, Wasswa Bossa decided to turn defensive, bringing on Ayub Kisalita for Abel Eturude, but there was no doubt that the fans wanted more.
But that was going to come from Onduparaka, Caesar Okhuti shot a half volley that left Samson Kirya flat-footed with nine minutes to full-time.
Okwi completed his hat-trick off a Kasumba assists to send the over 10,000 Villa fans into wild cheers.
The win takes Villa to 41 points, level with log leaders KCCA FC albeit the Lugogo side has a superior goal difference and three games in hand.
On the other hand, Onduparaka stays fourth on 32 points from 21 games.