Gomba Lions won an unprecedented fifth Masaza Cup title after outsmarting Buddu 3-1 during a one sided finale at the St Mary’s Stadium, Kitende on 6th March 2021 behind closed doors.
Tournament top scorer Charles Bbaale (8 goals), left back George Kaddu and defender Fred Gift scored the goals for Gomba.
Titus Ssematimba brushed home the consolation for Buddu on the sunny evening off a curling corner kick by Sharif “Diallo” Ssengendo.
Kawowo Sports’ David Isabirye unmasks the indomitable squad that won the championship unbeaten, recording 4 victories (in normal time) out of the 6 matches played.
Gomba kicked off with a comprehensive 4-0 win over Kabula, overcame Ssese 4-3 and drew 1-all with Buddu during the three Muganzirwazza duels played at the FUFA Technical Centre, Njeru.
In the quarter-finals, Gomba rallied from a goal down to beat Bugerere 2-1 to set up a date against Busiro.
Normal time of the semi-final contest against Busiro ended goal-less and in the post-match tense shoot-out, Gomba won 5-3 with substitute goalkeeper Peter “Dhaira” Katongole saving one kick.
Here are the players who staged a gallant fight to win yet another title for the Lions.
Francis Anguzu (Goalkeeper):
The towering shot stopper featured in four matches; after Nasif Kabuye unceremoniously left the Njeru camp.
He started the tasks at hand against Buddu in the final group game, played in the quarter finals (against Bugerere), semi-finals (Busiro) and in the final match against Buddu.
Anguzu wore shirt 18 as he commanded the team from the back.
Recently, Anguzu transferred from Kampala University Luweero campus to Kampala Junior Team (KJT).
Hamis Kafeero Dagada (Right back):
Kafeero wore shirt 2 throughout the championship. A very good game reader and industrious right back, Kafeero is also a proven leader.
His ability to defend and attack in equal measure gave the team the due advantage with definite advantage as well as edge over the opposition.
Kafeero plays for Kibuli United in the Kampala fourth division league.
George Kaddu is a contemporary left-back. He played full time in all the Gomba Lions matches at the 2020 Masaza Cup tournament.
Kaddu assisted and scored at free-will. He was one of the reasons that Gomba won their fifth title.
Besides the unquestionable trade-mark accurate long throw-ins, Kaddu is a also an exceptional crosser and shooter of the ball from all distances.
The odd goals after Kaddu, Ssese and in the finals against Buddu were a big bonus to the team.
Kaddu wore shirt 16 in the treasure orange and white Gomba colours.
His work ethic lured Uganda Premier League side Wakiso Giants to sign him, a big personal elevation in life after three seasons at Mityana based Kiyinda United.
Abdallah Ssentongo is a vivid leader on and off the field of play. The Gomba Lions’ calm skipper led by example at all times, on the playing field and off.
Like Kaddu, Ssentongo played all the Gomba Lions’ six matches at the tournament.
His strength as a footballer – heading the ball and solid defending were at play at all times.
He also scarified time to participate in attacks and this reaped instant dividends with a headed goal against Kabula off Kaddu’s customary long throw in.
Ssentongo was Gomba Lions’ captain fantastic and donned shirt 26.
The defender features for Kampala Junior Team (KJT) in the Kampala Region.
Defender Fred Gift was one of the most hard working players for Gomba Lions at the 2020.
The dreadlocked rock solid defender donned shirt 17 and often partnered George Kiryowa or Abdallah Ssentongo in central defence.
Often, he could be deployed as a holding midfielder and never disappointed.
Gift’s classic goal in the final against Buddu was the true epitome of his diligence and intelligence on the ball.
The defender plays at Masindi’s Booma United Football Club.
Fred Athuwera was the fulcrum of play for Gomba in central midfield.
The Uganda Christian University (UCU) student was exceptional as he covered acres of spaces.
Athuwera wore shirt 13 as he executed the timely tackles, blocks, interceptions as well as the short and diagonal passes.
He missed the first two matches in the group stages against Kabula and Ssese because of license hitches before he was cleared by the committee to play.
Athuwera’s ability to cover every grass in central midfield was possibly one of the reasons Gomba won their fifth title.
The only grey area being the red card in the final stages of the final against Buddu.
Fred donated his gold medal to Dr Lawrence Mulindwa, his former director at St Mary’s SSS – Kitende.
Athuwera plays at Rukungiri United Football Club in the Western region league.
Ali Bayo Arshavin:
Midfielder Ali Bayo Arshavin wore shirt 6 for Gomba Lions. One of the unsung heroes of this team, Bayo man-marked, freely passed the ball and shot at will.
His versatility to play various positions in central midfield was also an added advantage.
Bayo’s work ethics were never in doubt as he bossed the midfield, to bridge up the backline to the forwards.
Bayo recently made a transfer from Lungujja Galaxy to Edgars Football Club in the Kampala Regional League.
George Kiryowa is a utility effective player. He played in defence, midfield and offensive positions for Gomba Lions at the 2020 Masaza Cup tournament.
Kiryowa donned shirt 15 and was almost everywhere depending on demand and specific commands.
He featured in all the Gomba Lions matches in the tournament and delivered.
Kiryowa assisted Fred Gift’s third goal against Buddu in the final at Kitende before he paved way with a head injury.
He was signed by Uganda Premier League entity, Police Football Club from Kayunga United.
Jackson Ssemugabi was a Johnny-come-lately tale in this Gomba winning team.
Having missed the opening match against Kabula (4-0), Ssemugabi was introduced for the Ssese tie (4-3).
The pacy Katosi Watford forward initially struggled to find a footing but was the star player in the final against Buddu.
His confidence to take the ball to the opposition outshone the Buddu team as he assisted the first and second goals for Gomba.
The bow-legged Ssemugabi wore jersey 11.
Junior Juma Lutakome:
Forward Junior Juma Lutakome wore shirt 9. He was hard working and often created spaces for the teammates.
He managed to scored twice in 6 matches and was part of the Gomba attacking trio that had Charles Bbaale and Ssemugabi.
Lutakome is a player at Wobulenzi United in the Buganda Regional League.
What a tournament for the former Tiles and Terrazo left footed forward.
Charles Bbaale, shirt 14 will forever remain in the memories of one many Gomba ardent fans.
He was the tournament top scorer with 8 goals; all arriving from different fashions; close finishes, tap-ins, curls, headers and straight from the corner kicks.
Bbaale’s two goals direct from the corner-kick arc against Bugerere in the quarter finals will last in the history books of this competition.
He also scored in the final to galvanise his scoring exploits with a simple finish off Ssemugabi’s industrious run down the left flank.
Bbaale is now registered at Kampala Junior Team (KJT).
Peter Katongole (Goalkeeper):
Peter Katongole is a towering goalkeeper is christened as “Dhaira” after the fallen Uganda Cranes shot-stopper Abel Dhaira.
Katongole is good at game reading and dealing with aerial challenges.
At the 2020 Masaza Cup, he played one match, coming on as a late substitute for Francis Anguzu in the closing minutes of the semi-final clash against Busiro at FUFA Technical Center, Njeru.
Katongole lived to his billing and saved Malida Kuteesa’s first kick with Gomba winning 5-3.
He is registered at Buganda regional side; Polysack Football Club.
Derrick Mbowa is one of the midfielders who effortlessly worked for the team at all times.
Mbowa was donned in shirt 21 and often was deployed as the second holding midfielder alongside Fred Athuwera or Ali Bayo Arsahvin.
The Freestars Mukono player featured in all the games in the tournament including the finals.
His game reading antics, tackling and passing skills precipitated Gomba’s smooth journey to the fifth trophy in the tournament.
Ashraf Zizinga donned the treasured shirt 10 for Gomba. Limitations in fitness restricted his explosiveness and full potentiality.
He was often introduced in matches and started just one match, against Ssese.
Zizinga has transferred from Kampala Junior Team (KJT) to Katwe United in the Kampala Regional League.
Baptised “Messi” in the football circles, Isaac Musiima was a joy to watch for Gomba in all the matches he featured in.
The shirt 20 player excelled with successful dribbles, passes and odd assists coming from penetrative passing.
He is a player at Mayire United after switching from Boma.
Colline Sseruwu is that typical orthodox left footed winger any coach would wish to have on his side.
He wore shirt 7 and played in all matches at the 2020 Masaza Cup championship.
Like Zizinga, Sseruwu had limitations on fitness that restricted to deliver at the expected “A” level.
A winger who romances that touchline, Sseruwu often provided the team with the much desired width, took on opponents and proved that enviable pin-point delivery from the left flank.
He is licensed at Kampala Junior Team (KJT) in the Kampala regional league.
Nasif Kabuye (Goalkeeper)
Nasif Kabuye played the first two matches for Gomba before he asked to be released from the Njeru camp, pending personal reasons.
After keeping a clean sheet against Kabula during the 4-0 win, Kabuye conceded three goals against islanders Ssese in the 4-3 victory.
Thereafter, he asked the team management to be released so that he could attend to some personal issues and was replaced by Peter Katongole.
Kabuye therefore missed the rest of the tournament and did not get the winner’s medal.
Felix Kawooya Ssekabuuza (Technical Director):
The CAF “B” licensed coach won his fourth Masaza Cup gold medal. This followed earlier triumphs with Gomba in 2014 as well as with Singo in 2015 and 2018.
Kawooya understands the dynamics, politics and chemistry of the Masaza Cup tournament.
His ability to scout players was spot on.
Ibrahim Kirya (Head coach):
He won his first trophy as head coach at a Masaza Cup team. Kirya has also coached Gomba the earlier year. Kirya’s vast experience as a former Uganda Cranes player and a senior coach were beneficial to the Gomba team as he shared ideas alongside Kawooya and Nnono.
Davis Nnono Ssozi (Assistant coach):
He won his first trophy in the Masaza Cup tournament. He is also employed among the coaching staff at St Lawrence University Football team that features in the University Football League (UFL) and national beach soccer league.
Leo Ssekamatte (Technical committee member):
He won his second trophy in the Masaza Cup tournament. This followed the 2019 heroics with Bulemeezi. (2019, 2020)
Mansur Kabugo (Gomba Ssaza organizing committee chairman):
Every successful journey is embarked by a single bold step. Gomba Lions’ preparations for the 2020 edition were started by that giant stride from the team management. The local organizing committee chairperson Mansur Kabugo used his experience as a football administrator to make the necessary recruitments in the technical, playing and other essential departments. The shrewd leadership skills, bold management decisions and wise resolutions all drove the Gomba ship to the right direction amid challenges of limited finances that were precipitated by the COVID-19 pandemic.