The Copa Coca Cola Football Championship will no doubt remain a key sports event on the annual calendar in Uganda.
For ages now, the tournament now fully under the custody of the National Council of Sports (NCS) has become popular for a genuine purpose of providing a plat form to expose raw talent and luring numbers for its unpredictability as well as entertainment.
Jinja 2019 will go down in the history books for one bold cause – the ability to attract numbers for every match held.
Across the different fields that have been used, spectators across the divide still borrowed time off their demanding and busy schedules to turn up for the matches.
It has not been mere attendance but cheerful and passionate supporting of their respective schools in the box.
In close collaboration with the football mother body in the country, Federation of Uganda Football Associations (FUFA), this tournament which is meant for students below 20 years has grown in stature.
It is rotated across the country so that the different regions have the true feel of its thrills and adrenaline stimulating ability.
Since Jinja last hosted this tournament in 2008 following the earlier success script in 1997, the Copa tourney once again graced the football mad Busoga region.
I could imagine gentlemen and ladies abandoning their respective work chores to attend a football match on a working day as early as 9 AM.
To Gerald Topher Mutyagaba, a 41 year old social worker, the moment he learnt through Kawowo Sports that Copa was coming home (in Jinja), he planned ahead with his bosses.
Gerald Topher Mutyagaba, social worker and football fan
When I read on Kawowo Sports that Copa football tournament was coming to Jinja. I got an agreement with my boss to fix the time I would go for work. Later, I realized It would be difficult to balance work chores with the beautiful games, so I sought for a two week’s leave. I have enjoyed every match. It is like I am watching the FIFA World Cup. Thank you Copa Coca Cola. The football is amazing and interesting. I think I will follow the tournament to whichever venue it is taken
The 59 schools invited for the championship were engaged first in the grueling group stages at the Jinja College play grounds, Uganda Martyrs’ ground, St Jude, Jinja SS play fields and at Kakindu Stadium in the heart of town.
For all the venues, fans did not disappoint under clear weather, rain or sunny conditions.
Little wonder, therefore, every match at Copa 2019 has ‘sold out’.
Fine, there conspiracies that these matches have been price tag attached; but, it is worth noting that the time one spends is immense and valuable.
Like Mutyagaba, many fans have been tore been a rock and a hard place – to sacrifice work chores at 11 AM or to watch the copa matches.
And, guess what? Copa was the obvious order of preference even on a day one was destined to sign a fat pay cheque at office.
With the numbers witnessed at the 2019 copa football games in Jinja, who ever doubts that football fans in Uganda are not thirsty?
Funny enough, it is not that thirst that will be easily quenched by an ice cold coke, but, one that necessitates affluent football.
Luckily, Copa football has quenched the thirst for many football fans in Jinja and the entire Busoga region.
This has been shown at the games as Jinja S.S against St Julian High School – Gayaza during the round of 16 and at the official opening match.
It will still be the case at the closing ceremony on Saturday, 18th May 2019.
With the rich aforementioned testimony, whoever doubts that football is indeed the beautiful game will question whether his or her heart coronary artery skips a moment.
Fans have indeed coloured the 2019 Copa football championship.
Previous Winners since 1986:
- 2018: Buddo S.S (Host: Mbarara, Mbarara High)
- 2017: Jinja S.S (Host: Masaka, Masaka SS)
- 2016: Kibuli SS (Host: Soroti, Teso College Aloet)
- 2015: St Mary’s Kitende (Host: Hoima, Duhaga S.S)
- 2014: Kibuli SS (Host: Gulu, St Joseph College, Layibi)
- 2013: St Mary’s Kitende (Kabale, Kigezi College)
- 2012: St Mary’s Kitende (Tororo, Rock High School)
- 2011: St Mary’s Kitende (Arua, Mvara S.S)
- 2010: Bishop Nankyama (Masaka, St Henry’s Kitovu)
- 2009: Buddo S.S (Fort Portal, St Leo’s Kyegobe)
- 2008: St Mary’s Kitende (Arua, Mvara SS) *Started as Copa Coca Cola Cup
- 2007: St Mary’s Kitende (Host: Jinja, Jinja S.S) *Coca Cola Cup
- 2006: St Mary’s Kitende (Host: Masindi, Kabalega SS) *Coca Cola Cup
- 2005: Kibuli S.S (Host: Masaka, Masaka SS) *Coca Cola
- 2004: St Mary’s Kitende (Host: Mbarara – Ntare School) *Coca Cola Cup
- 2003: Old Kampala (Host: Lira, Lango College) *Coca Cola Cup
- 2002: Nagalama Islamic (Host: Soroti, Teso College, Aloet) * Coca Cola Cup
- 2001: Ngabo Academy (Host: Kabale, Kabale S.S) *Coca Cola Cup
- 2000: Kibuli (Host: Mbale, Mbale S.S) *Coca Cola Cup
- 1999: Old Kampala (Host: Masindi, Kabalega S.S) *Coca Cola Cup
- 1998: Kibuli (Host: Jinja, Jinja S.S) *Coca Cola Cup
- 1997: St Leo’s Kyegobe (Host: Mbarara, Mbarara High) *Coca Cola Cup
- 1996: Kibuli (Host: Masaka, Masaka SS) *Started as Coca Cola Cup
- 1995: Kibuli (Host: Mbale, Mbale SS) *NPP Cup
- 1994: Lubiri S.S (Host: Lira, Lango College) *NPP Cup
- 1993: Kibuli S.S (Host: Mbarara, Ntare School) *NPP Cup
- 1992: Kibuli SS (Host: Kampala, Kibuli SS) * UTV Cup
- 1991: Kibuli S.S (Host: Kampala) *UTV Cup
- 1990: Kololo S.S (Host: Kampala) *UTV Cup
- 1989: Kibuli S.S (Host: Kampala) *UTV Cup
- 1988: Kololo (Host: Kampala) *UTV Cup
- 1987: Kololo S.S (Host: Kampala) *UTV Cup
- 1986: Kololo S.S (Host: Kampala) *UTV Cup