If there’s one thing that 2021 has delivered in Uganda sport, then, it has been great moments. Records were broken, seemingly impossible physical feats were achieved, and long-overdue victories finally came to fruition, all in front of millions — sometimes billions — of fans around the world. It’s not easy to narrow down all the incredible events that happened this year, but that’s exactly what we’ve tried to do. Ahead, you’ll find some of the most awe-inspiring and heart-warming moments in sports that 2021 has brought and will leave with, from major championships to smaller headlines, you may have missed. Keep reading to see our picks — did your favourite moments of the year make the list?
Uganda Hippos reaches the AFCON final
Participating for the first time at the U20 African Cup of Nations, the Uganda Hippos put up a fairytale run to reach the finals at which they were defeated by Ghana 2-0. The remarkable run saw Uganda defeat Mozambique, Mauritania, Burkina Faso and Tunisia on their way to the last game of the tournament.
With that incredible performance, left-back Aziz Kayondo and Striker Derrick Kakooza were named in the tournament’s best XI. Kakooza finished as the tournament’s top scorer with six goals in five games to claim the accolade. Team head coach Morley Byekwaso was also named coach of the tournament.
Baby Cricket Cranes off to the U19 Cricket World Cup final
The Uganda Cricket U19 side sealed qualification to the 2021 Cricket World Cup in West Indies. The Baby Cricket Cranes secured qualification in September after winning the African qualifiers in Kigali, Rwanda – overturning a huge Net Run Rate on the final day against Tanzania.
That qualification meant Uganda will feature at the World Cup stage for the third time, having featured at the 2004 and 2006 finals in Bangladesh and Sri Lanka respectively.
Golden year for Uganda in Tokyo
Uganda picked up four medals at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics in Japan, two of which were gold, won by Joseph Cheptegei and Peruth Chemutai. Cheptegei won the 5000m race ahead of Mohammed Ahmed of Canada and Paul Chelimo of the United States while Chemutai won gold in the 3,000m steeplechase with a time of 9:01.45 to become the first Ugandan woman to win an Olympic medal.
Cheptegei also won the Silver medal in the 10000m race ahead of countryman Jacob Kiplimo who won bronze. Kiplimo though finished 2021 as a World Record holder after he broke the Half-marathon record in the World Athletics Label road race. He clocked 57:31, one second off the previous world record set by Kenya’s Kibiwott Kandie in Valencia last year.
Express crowned league champions for first time in 9 years.
After nine years of wait, Express Football Club were crowned Champions of the 2020/21 Uganda Premier League following a decision by the FUFA Emergency Executive Committee to end the season before finish due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Red Eagles, who were top of the log with 58 points won their seventh league and a first since 2011/12 season. This earned them a ticket to the 2021/22 TotalEnergies CAF Champions League.
Express also won their first CECAFA Kagame Cup, defeating Nyasa Big Bullets from Malawi in the final played in Tanzania.
Silverbacks in Kigali
The Uganda Silverbacks finished sixth at the 2021 FIBA AfroBasket. Pitted in Group D with Senegal, South Sudan and Cameroon, Uganda finished third with 4 points in three games to qualify to the last 16. In the last 16, they defeated Nigeria 80-68 to book a quarterfinals date with Cape Verde. Uganda’s journey ended with a 79-71 defeat to finish sixth.
Rugby Cranes qualify to next round of the 2023 Rugby WC qualifiers
The Uganda National Rugby team, the Rugby Cranes progressed to the next round of the 2023 Rugby World Cup Qualifiers. This was after they finished top of Pool C of the 2021 Rugby African Cup to qualify for the quarterfinals where they will face neighbouring East African rivals Kenya in France next year. The eventual winner after the semi-finals and the final will qualify automatically for the Rugby World Cup 2023 in Pool A to face hosts France, New Zealand, Italy and the Americas 1 qualifier. The runner-up will qualify for the final qualification tournament.
Uganda finishes second at the 2021 Africa Netball Championship
Uganda’s National Netball team, the She Cranes scooped a silver medal at the African Netball Championship in Windhoek, Namibia. The She Cranes finished second after losing to only South Africa and drawing to Malawi in the nine-team mini-tournament.
Magogo re-elected as FUFA President
Eng. Moses Magogo was re-elected as FUFA President for the third term in August. Magogo was confirmed as the Association Football president after going through unchallenged at the 97th FUFA Ordinary General Assembly at Wash and Wills Hotel in Mbale City. By the end of this term that runs up to 2025, he will be the longest-serving FUFA President in Uganda.