Two UCU soccer players help team secure 5th trophy

Fred Atuhwera, UCU student and star soccer player with the Gomba Lions
Fred Atuhwera, UCU student and star soccer player with the Gomba Lions


By Ivor Sempa and Joseph Lagen  

Two final-year students of Uganda Christian University (UCU) were among the players who helped their team win a soccer tournament at the finals played at the picturesque St. Mary’s Stadium, Kitende, off Entebbe Road. For their outstanding performance, Fred Atuhwera, Derrick Mbowa and teammates helped their team – Gomba Lions – walk home with a sh12m (about $3,300) cash prize after roaring past thee Buddu Buddu Football Club (FC).

Part of the award money is distributed among the football players and part supports administration of the club. 

Twenty-three-year-old Fred Atuhwera is a final-year student of Bachelor of Business Administration, while Derrick Mbowa, 24, is pursuing a Bachelor of Procurement & Logistics Management course, also in his final year. 

The Masaza Cup tournament, held since 2004, was one of the sports activities affected by the Covid-19 lockdown imposed on sports in the country last year. As a result, the competition, which usually attracts a record number of spectators in the country, started six months later, in December 2020. The finals, held on March 6, were played behind closed-doors to fans. Attendance was only by invitation. The tournament is played by the local administrative units in Buganda, called counties. Buganda is the biggest kingdom in Uganda.

Atuhwera, a three-time winner of the Masaza Cup, is a central defensive midfielder. UCU also has had the opportunity of benefitting from his immense talent. In 2019, Atuhwera helped UCU win the soccer league of Uganda’s University Games. 

Atuhwera’s three medals in the Masaza Cup have come with three different teams –  Mawokota in 2015, Buddu in 2016 and the most recent, Gomba. 

UCU student and soccer player, Derrick Mbowa
UCU student and soccer player, Derrick Mbowa

On the other hand, Derrick Mbowa also is an attacking midfielder on UCU’s soccer team, the Cardinals. For four years, Mbowa has been part of the university soccer team, until 2020, when he retired from competitive university sports. Mbowa has also previously played for other counties in the Masaza Cup, such as Kyaggwe FC.

When asked about the performance of Atuhwera and Mbowa, the coach of Gomba Lions, Ambrose Kirya, said: “These two players have helped the team win and their names will remain etched in the Masaza Cup history.” 

For his outstanding performance, Atuhwera was named the best central defensive midfielder of the 2020 competition, while Mbowa scored one of the three goals that helped his team roar to victory.

Kirya lauded the vibrancy of Uganda’s University League, saying it is from there that he scouted Atuhwera and Mbowa. He tasked other universities with borrowing a leaf from the books of UCU’s level of organisation and commitment to develop the game of soccer. 

Atuhwera said: “Winning has always been a part of me. While I am excited, it is normal for me to win trophies as I have done back home at UCU. Winning for UCU brings me particularly more joy because I get to represent the university’s students.”

Mbowa, who will be leaving the university soon, pledged commitment to help his alma mater, even when he is out. “I am proud to have served UCU and I pledge to bring more young talent to the university, in order to grow the team,” he said, adding: “I send my appreciation to all those in UCU who have always believed in me.”

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