Lions Sports Academy players as they pose for a group photo at Nkumba Kataka play ground

Nobody vividly recalls the day 5th May 2018 than Ronald Alonso Nuwasiima, the Director, Founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of The Lion Sports Academy – Ntungamo.

On this day, a soccer academy idea evolved from a mere mind idea through to paperwork and finally into something tangible – thanks to Alonso.

Two years down the road, the academy has grown from 20 children to 210 registered young players between the ages of 2 to 18-year-olds.

A long the way, Lion Sports Academy has also participated in a number of tournaments in Ntungamo, Western Uganda and elsewhere, thus exposing further their youngsters.

As the academy celebrates two years of existence, Alonso’s dream is big and real.

Some of the Lion Sports Academy Players

“With the sounding pace we have set in the country, you cannot believe we are making only two years today. We have done the terrific work of developing, tapping and changing the lives of the talented boys in the area within the shortest time. Our target is to acquire a coaster bus as a means of easing transport, initiating a team to play in the fourth league tier for the U-17 teams that are already developed and having a foreign coach for the players in some of the sessions,” Alonso speaks of the Lions Sports Academy’s dream.

Lions Sports Academy players in action

Early days

The Lion Sports Academy Ntungamo was started with just a single ball, five training bibs and 20 players on the initial training session with the hopes of spreading wings and no doubt the most active football school in entire Western Uganda.

Ronald Alonso on the touchline

“I remember when we started on 5th May 2018, I saw everything coming to reality from the first whistle with only 20 pioneer players reporting for registration on day one. It took Lions only two months after the start to become runners up to Kigezi Select Football Club in the regional Airtel Rising Stars U-17 tournament that was held in Bushenyi main stadium,” Alonso recalls.

Along the way, they participated in a number of tournaments winning a number of them, earned bursaries to some and have managed to export three players outside the borderlines of Uganda to three different countries in Canada, Ghana and Egypt.

Jordan Amanya (Canada), Davis Kakaire (Ghana) and Male Kaharabe (Egypt) are the players who got invitations.

Lion Sports Academy CEO Ronald Alonso Niwasima

Collective Effort

The local community, parents, players and the academy management have all joined efforts to rally the support and built confidence to continue the project.

Alonso rarely slept to realize the dream come true.

Personally, Alonso played the beautiful game up to a regional level (fourth division), playing for Ntoda Football Club.

He eventually prematurely hung up the playing boots aged 27 years to concentrate on nurturing young talents.

“I gave up football to concentrate on the Lion Sports Academy project because I wanted to change lives of the youth in the community through using a soccer ball,” Alonso remarks.

With seven months into the project, The Lion Sports Academy for the first time travelled about 150kms to Ibanda, triumphing in the Soccer Impact Tournament U14 that was hosted by Douglas Smith in December 2018.

“Winning in Ibanda was one goal achieved to the Lions Sports Academy as most of the boys got bursaries and even one player, Isa Male Kaharaba travelled to Egypt under Mega Marketing Company for Soccer players agency after the tournament,” Alonso revisits.

FUFA Football development manager Ali Mwebe through Kiruhura district FUFA delegate Steven Kacumu appreciated the hard work Lions and rewarded them with five good size 4 playing balls on returning from Ibanda that inspired the whole project.

Peak moment:

The Lion Sports Academy hosted the U-14 Talent Soccer Tournament at the Kyamate stadium in Ntungamo district where the FUFA Communications Director Ahmed Hussein represented the FUFA President Eng. Moses Magogo as chief guest.

More than 30 teams turned up which created opportunities to talents exposure and reawakened football life in Western Uganda.

The project kept on rolling on agood Football speed after traveling over 480Kms to Kampala this year for the Entebbe Soccer camp Tournament 9th edition..

Token of appreciation:

Alonso boldly sings praise of the partners, executive members all who have given the project a fresh lease of life.

The academy has partners as Digitech Solutions Hub, Owino.net (Supply Chain Network), The Youth hub Uganda, Hotel Trendyz Ntungamo and Ibanda based The Smith Soccer Foundation.

Educational institutions as Ducks and Doves Kampala, Citizens Primary school Kampala, Ryakasinga CHE (Sheema),  St. Jude Secondary School,  Masaka,  Royal Giants SS (Mityana),  Green Valley Junior school and Njeru based Rays of Grace Junior school are close associates of Lion Sports Academy.

Challenges:

Like most sports academies in the country and via the East African region, all the challenges are crisscrossed.

They range from a shortage of training facilities and equipment given the swelling number of children joining the academy, especially during the holiday training sessions.

“With the ever-increasing number of kids per holiday training,  it is still a challenge that we need to survive on donations and mercy of some individual pockets,” Nuwasiima cries out.

Also, the academy faces transport challenges especially when traveling to distant places for soccer camps and tournaments, the reason they are in a hurry to seek for a personal coaster bus.

Lion Sports Academy also has a functional website,  www.thelionsportsacademy.com

“Thanks goes to the current active executive members that came on board to help Ronald Alonso by working around the clock to see this project keep on shining even on the shortest time in it’s existence.

Young players at Lion Soccer Academy Ntungamo

Management:

Ronald Alonso Niwamusima is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Assy Abireebe (Chairman), Phillip Ankwatsa (Vice Chairman), Brian Flamingo Muhumuza (General Secretary), Emmanuel Tumwbaze (Treasurer), Emmanuel Arinaitwe (Public Relations Officer), Loyce Matsiko (Coordinator), Jovilet “Mamma Isaac” Mugisha (Parents chairperson), Hamudani Sande (Advisor) and Baker Felix Twesiime (Chief ambassador).

The Lion will roar aloud across the peripheries of Uganda, East Africa, Africa and in the world.

Watch the space.

Achievements:

  • Champion: U-14 Soccer Impact Tournament, Ibanda
  • Champion: U-13 Talent Soccer Tournament, Ntungamo
  • Champion: U-14 Western Talent Search, Ntungamo
  • Runners up:  2018 Airtel Rising Stars (U-17 Boys) 2018 regionals, Bushenyi,
  • Runners up: U-13, U-15 9th Entebbe Christmas Netball and Soccer Holiday Camp, Nkumba
  • Quarter-finalists: U-9 9th Entebbe Christmas Netball and Soccer Holiday Camp

Management:

  • Chief Executive Officer (CEO): Ronald Alonso Niwamusima
  • Chairman: Assy Abireebe
  • Vice Chairman: Phillip Ankwatsa
  • General Secretary: Brian Flamingo Muhumuza
  • Treasurer: Emmanuel Tumwbaze
  • Public Relations Officer (PRO): Emmanuel Arinaitwe
  • Coordinator: Loyce Matsiko
  • Parents’ Chairperson: Jovilet “Mamma Isaac” Mugisha
  • Advisor: Hamudani Sande
  • Chief Ambassador: Baker Felix Twesiime

Key Contacts:

  • Websitewww.thelionsportsacademy.com
  • Emails: thelionsportsacademy@gmail.com& ronaldalonso1414@gmail.com
  • Telephone numbers: +256789607578 & +256702828698
  • Facebook: The Lion Sports academy Ntungamo
Ronald Alonso engages the players at Lion Sports Academy in healthy talk session

Blessed Birthday The Lion Sports Academy, Ntungamo

ALSO READ: Lion Sports Academy Roars Aloud 2 years after founding

David Isabirye

David Isabirye is a senior staff writer for Kawowo Sports where he covers most of the major events.

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