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How loss of a teammate’s sister inspired Engonge clan to victory


By Martin Mugambi

On a sunny Saturday at the Muteesa II Stadium in Wankulukuku, Ngonge clan walked onto the pitch as the better motivated team for reasons beyond kingdom bragging rights of winning the Buganda clans football competition infront of the Kabaka and agaisnt a side tipped by many as the favorites, Embogo clan. 

The reason was later on revealed in a special goal celebration with players showing off a T-shirt with the words. “Rest in peace my lovely sister.”

In an interview with the touchline sports, It all started on a sorry Wednesday afternoon, Saul Ssemwanga narrated.
“I received a phonecall from my mom telling me how my sister had been found dead inside her house in Makindye.”

“But we were already in camp getting ready for our semi-final game against Ensene and here I got to I know that I had a difficult decision to make because her burial was on Thursday which was the same date for the game.”

Saul spoke of his fallen sister the Late Dianah Nabikoso with unwavering love, you could tell by the joy in his voice that there was a bond beyond blood stitched together by a string of joyful moments in life.

Even though Saul had not yet disclosed his agony to his teammates, he says one of them realized he was in a somber mood and he at the time could not imagine what Saul was dealing with as he asked him if he had a fever.

 “No I’m not sick,” he replied and added “my sister is getting buried at 2pm today.” a few hours left before kickoff at 3:30pm

Bold enough to walk onto the pitch knowing his sister and great friend had been buried only a few hours back, Saul had one more fear.

“I asked the coaches to take me off incase the game went into penalties.” He further says “I didn’t want to cry twice.” The coaches however asked him to be bold and kept him on.

And there came the moment Saul was most afraid of, the spot kick! He skied his chance but fortunately his side qualified to the finals.

After the game, he left the fans in the stands, confused whether these were tears of joy for securing a place in the finals or pain of missing his penalty since most of them didn’t know the situation at hand.

However none of the above was the source of Saul’s tears but rather a brother grieving the death of his immediate elder sister whom he didn’t get a chance to send off.

However there was one more chance for Saul to send last goodbyes to his beloved sister, at the grand final.

“Winning this title was the best way to pay back his dedication to the team, we celebrated with the shirt to show respect to our sister.” -Jemba Sharif, Saul’s teammate.

However much he didn’t command a starting position in the final, it was in his most desired dreams to win the Bika Football shield on Saturday.

Even though he didn’t score in the finals as he had wished, two goals from Ronald Ssekiganda and Richard Sonko secured a 2-0 victory for Engonge clan against Embogo to clinch the Bika Football sheild.

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