Onduparaka Football Club fans Credit: © Kawowo Sports | JOHN BATANUDDE

The chairperson of Onduparaka FC Benjamin Nyakuni has heaped special praise onto the loyal club fans that have supported them time immemorial.

Appearing on Onduparaka FC Online Television during the talk show “State of Onduparaka FC”, Nyakuni expressed gratitude for the fans’ spirit, talked about the previous season as he also projected the future.

The Caterpillar fans are arguably the most passionate crop of personalities in the current club football business in Uganda, often cheering their favourite players and officials all season round.

“Football is a religion and most of fans have Onduparaka Football Club in their DNA. If we are united, we can make this club the number one brand in East Africa” Nyakuni noted.

Started in 2011 as a community team in Anyivu, Onduparaka joined the Arua fourth division and rose up the ladder to the third tier, the FUFA Big League until they were promoted to the Uganda Premier League at the end of the at the end of the 2015/2016 season.

During the 2019/2020 season, Onduparaka was marred by disruptions that ranged from exodus of their players and the coaches (Charles Livingstone Mbabazi, Sadick Ssempigi and Yusuf Ssenyonjo).

By the abrupt end of the season because of the Coronavirus pandemic, Onduparaka was 8th on the 16 team log with 31 points, having lost 12 games, triumphed in nine and registered four draws.

Benjamin Nyakuni, Chairperson of Onduparaka Football Club

Nyakuni thus tagged the previous season as troublesome and the toughest of the four years spent in the top flight division.

It has been our toughest season. But I have to thank everyone involved that helped us overcome all the hardships. We will need to have more finances to pay players and facilitate other club activities and am sure that if all that is in order, next season will be our best. We are in a jungle playing against institutional clubs like URA and KCCA which are well funded. It is a challenge for us especially that we are from a humble background. We want to professionalize this club and our brand should be more vibrant. We want to restructure the staff and player management and improve on all fronts, do more research on how to improve things. The target is to win a trophy next season. We have lower division trophies in the store and we want a big trophy (League or Uganda Cup) come next season. We can achieve this if we are all united.

Benjamin Nyakuni, Chairperson Onduparaka Football Club

During the previous season alone, Onduparaka lost the services of their head coach Charles Livingstone Mbabazi to Wakiso Giants.

His assistant Sadick Ssempigi left for Mbarara City and goalkeeping coach Yusuf Ssenyonjo followed Mbabazi to the Purple Sharks.

Onduparaka players applaud their fans

Players as Vitalis Tabu (BUL), Abdu Noor Lukwata (African Lyon, Tanzania), skipper Gaddafi Wahab (Wakiso Giants), Geriga Atendele (Wakiso Giants), Ramathan Dudu (BUL) and Faizul Anini all left for greener pastures.

On the element of current players at the club, Nyakuni has openly expressed the need to fight tooth and nail and retain them.

We don’t want to lose our players. We are already in talks to see that we can retain them. We are having discussions but as you know, it is two-way. We may succeed or not. The players have their own ambitions as well but I believe that they will renew.

When Onduparaka was promoted at the end of the 2015/2016 season, they finished fifth on their first time of asking in the top flight with 45 points off 30 games.

In the subsequent season, they improved to fourth with 48 points and were sixth with 45 points in 2018/19 season.

A number of players have since left Onduparaka for other top flight clubs as Shaban “Jaggarson” Muhammed (now Vipers), Rashid Toha (now Vipers), goalkeeper Nafian Legason Alionzi (URA), Karim Ndugwa (Wakiso Giants), Geriga Atendele (Wakiso Giants), Gadaffi Wahabu (Wakiso Giants), Viane Ssekajugo (Wakiso Giants), Vitalis Tabu (BUL), Abdu Noor Lukwata (African Lyon, Tanzania), Gaddafi Gadihno (Mbarara City), Ramathan Dudu (BUL) and Faizul Anini among others.

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

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