The second edition of the Game Connect had football and netball games inclined along the theme-line; "Sport for a better mental health and a common identity" with the bold objective of fronting sports as a tool to promote unity and improve mental health of young people.
World-over, sport is proven to have those unquestionable powers to thrill, fresh the body and mind as well as unify the populous in society.
Better still, the thrilling bit of sport comes with the excitement as many sweat off to compete, awaken the general body as well as the soul.
The aforementioned ingredients were all well packaged during the second edition of the Game Connect Annual sports gala that climaxed recently in Northern Uganda.
For starters, the event that lured internally displace persons of teams from 5 districts (Kyangwali, Kampala, Lamwo, Adjumani and Kamwenge) was hosted by Palabek Refugee settlement at Word View Primary school in Lamwo, Kitgum District.
These games were inclined along the theme-line; “Sport for a better mental health and a common identity” with the bold objective of fronting sports as a tool to promote unity and improve mental health of young people.
Whereas Adjumani triumphed in the football competition, Kampala was victorious in Netball.
Adjumani won the football category beating Kampala in the finale.
Perhaps, Kampala had topped the group stage with six points, ahead of Adjumani on goal difference.
Kyangwali, Kamwenge and hosts Lamwo completed the respective top five positions.
The duo of Christine Kojoki and Irene Machiruku were identified as the most valuable players.
Kyangwali goalkeeper Ezera Jacob was the youngest player in the entire tournament.
Jean Paul Niyonzima of Kamwenge was outstanding goalkeeper as Lamwo’s Martine Kinyera was top scorer.
Several most improved persons with disabilities were rewarded as well and these included; Festo Nuwagaba (Kamwenge), Emmanuel Jopee (Kampala), Paul Ategeka (Kyangwali), Hellen Achiro (Adjumani) and Jane Adyee (Lamwo).
Kampala came top in Netball sport after amassing 8 points with 62 goals.
Hosts Lamwo played second fiddle with 6 points (38 goals).
In third place was Adjumani with 4 points (31 goals), Kamwenge came fourth with 2 points (14 Goals) as Kyangweli did not manage any point (10 Goals)
Esther Jua (Adjumani) was Most Valuable Player (MVP).
The MVP (special needs) were Annuarite Tetiane (Kamwenge) and Kampala’s Damastin Ojok.
Evas Shimimana (Kamwenge) was youngest player, the best shooter Annet Diana Akello (Kampala), best defender as Philiph Khemis (Lamwo) and the best center as Safii Asifiwe (Kyangwali).
Francis Okello of Lamwo took the fair play award.
The chief guests at this championship were Paul Tergat, Jojo Ferris and Jeroen Carrin.
To hold such a successful event, different stakeholders were lauded in a special way.
These range from the different settlements, Uganda Olympic Committee (UOC), MHPSS partners, local leaders within Palabek settlement, Lamwo district, Sports Talent identification department, Ministry of Education and Sports, AVSI Foundation, UNHCR, Right to Play, Youth Sport Uganda, Office of the Prime Minister, youths from Palabek settlement and a team from the Olympic Refugee Foundation (donor).
By close of business of the championship, celebration reigned for the different victors (teams and individuals), dances were executed, smiles flashed across the winners and losers, skilled talents were identified, bodies and minds refreshed as the extra sweat was shed for a purposeful cause.
There is anxiety coming to the 2024 edition whose host is yet to be confirmed.
Football (Group Stages):
- MVPs: Christine Kojoki & Irene Machiruku
- Youngest player: Ezera Jacob (Goalkeeper, Kyangwali)
- Best Goalkeeper: Jean Paul Niyonzima (Kamwenge)
- Top scorer: Martine Kinyera (Lamwo)
Most Improved persons with disabilities:
- Festo Nuwagaba (Kamwenge)
- Emmanuel Jopee (Kampala)
- Paul Ategeka (Kyangwali)
- Hellen Achiro (Adjumani)
- Jane Adyee (Lamwo)
- Winner: Kampala – 8 Points (62 Goals)
- 2nd: Lamwo – 6 Points (38 Goals)
- 3rd: Adjumani – 4 Points (31 Goals)
- 4th: Kamwenge – 2 Points (14 Goals)
- 5th: Kyangweli – 0 Point (10 Goals)
- MVP – Esther Jua (Adjumani)
- MVP Special Needs – Annuarite Tetiane (Kamwenge) & Damastin Ojok (Kampala)
- Youngest player: Evas Shimimana (Kamwenge)
- Best Shooter: Annet Diana Akello (Kampala)
- Best Defender: Philiph Khemis (Lamwo)
- Best Center: Safii Asifiwe (Kyangwali)
- Fair play Award: Francis Okello (Lamwo)