Richard Anyama was already considered by analysts to be the best goalkeeper in the StarTimes FUFA Big League especially when he came to the team’s rescue in first round games against Gaddafi, Maroons, Calvary FC and Paidha Black Angels.
Now he can officially be considered the best goalkeeper at the 2020/21 Big League season after winning the Golden Glove award.
But at the beginning of the campaign, it wouldn’t make sense to peg Anyama as a favourite to take home the honor, and with Arua Hill’s Big League win, he accompanied that with a statement.
Richard Anyama finished the 2020/21 StarTimes FUFA Big League with most clean sheets in the competition.
“It has never happened in my life before, out of all the goalkeepers in the league and you emerge the best, you know what I mean?” Anyama told aruahillsc.ug
“It’s one of the best moments in my life; we promoted the team to the top tier league, we were unbeaten in the whole process, we are the champions and I won the golden gloves.” He added.
Anyama,25, missed the first chance for a clean sheet in the opening game after the team conceded late goal in the game against Blacks Power in March 25.
As a top goalkeeper, he demonstrated ability to restore focus even after losing the first chance as he would later reorganize himself, with gained momentum in the subsequent two games, registering two consecutive clean sheets before losing it again when Arua Hill played one all draw with Mbale Heroes in match day four.
Though his form became irregular afterwards, by the end of the campaign, at least he managed to keep it clean in games against Kataka FC, Maroons FC (home and away), Mbale Heroes (home), Calvary FC (home and away), Paidha Black Angels (away), Gaddafi FC (away).
“I thank the Almighty God for being around for us, my Chairman Mr. Joel A’ita for always being around and supportive, my former coaches for being patient with me and finally trusting me with responsibility,” Anyama said.
“I thank my teammates for this award, they’ve done tremendously well for me in getting the golden glove and also take this opportunity to thank the CEO and PRO for their endeavors,” he continued.
“We did this because we were all best friends in the team and we trusted each other, it’s a milestone to my career and wish it continues like this to the premier league.” And he concluded.
Anyama missed the first five days of training before the Big League finals as he had to attend to his expectant wife whom experts have predicted will deliver in two weeks’ time.
With little time for preparation, his fitness and readiness were in doubt, as a result he had to pave way for his immediate and available deputy, Franco Oringa.
Prior to the finals, Oringa was charged with task to take care of the post in the last match against Paidha Black Angels. He was presented with his first clean sheet after Arua Hill whipped Paidha 4-0.
His second clean sheet came in the finals when he stopped Tooro United from accessing the net as the Leopards emerged triumphant with a goal to nil.
Anyama has not remained silent over Oringa’s performance which he believes was excellent.
“My compatriot played well and kept the net clean,” he said before explaining more; “I also appreciate the competition from my posts mates, Mulindwa and Oringa, they really played a big role in developing me and I learnt a lot from both of them.”
As a reward for managing eight clean sheets in 13 games, the shot-stopper was awarded a StarTimes 32 Inch flat screen and UGX 1M.
Arua Hill won the Big League on Tuesday afternoon at Njeru.
Rashid Kawawa’s first half goal won it for the Leopards after they beat Tooro United 1-0.
Arua Hill’s solid defence frustrated Tooro United through out the game. It is Arua Hill’s first piece of Big League silverware.
The club photographer was on ground as official witness and captured some evidence below….
Midfielder Rashid Kawawa confessed it’s a privilege to cause impact after his goal gave the Leopards the Big League trophy in a 1-0 victory over Tooro United on Tuesday.
“I am thankful to Almighty, the Chairman, the technical team and fans. It’s a great privilege to play a final, be resourceful and impact the game and I feel blessed about it.” He told club media.
The 20-year-old struck in the 22nd minute to give Arua Hill a deserved victory, consequently equaling the tally of senior strikers Caesar Okhuti and Alfred Leku who both already notched five goals in the season.
Kawawa’s first four goals were against Paidha Black Angels. He bagged a brace at Bar Okoro in the last fixture of the first round before repeating the same at Barifa in the last fixture of the regular season.
With the decisive goal that helped claimed the trophy for Arua Hill, it is fair to subjectively opine Kawawa now stands on the table of men at Arua Hill.
“Scoring in a final doesn’t come easily but I have practiced that during the training and built the confidence to strike when chance appears. Today, it became a reality and I am just out of words to really fully express the feeling inside.” He revealed.
He however down played the elevation offered to him, whilst suggesting there is so much to learn from Okhuti’s foot prints despite his retirement.
Kawawa’s contribution to the team’s success in Big League can never be underestimated. He initially played from bench before making a statement at Bar Okoro in April that earned him a starting place afterward.
Shortly along the way, he lost the starting role as he’d had to compete with other wing forwards in the team.
But his impressive display during training continued, with the new technical team acknowledging that, he was entrusted with a starting place in the finals and he didn’t disappoint.
Caesar Okhuti has retired from football, ending a 15-year career that saw him win two Uganda Premier League titles and the FUFA Big League.
The 31-year-old Ugandan striker scored 71 career goals for both club and country, with a career high of 18 goals in 2008/09 season, that ranked him as the second top scorer in the Uganda Premier League at Vipers SC.
Widely considered one of the greatest strikers West Nile has produced, he ended his playing career with West Nile side Arua Hill SC as the club’s joint top scorer with five goals in 2020/21 Big League season, consequently helping the Leopards clinch promotion to Uganda Premier League.
Okhuti spent the last 10 months of his career as a player and a coach of Arua Hill and St. Leo FC respectively.
Okhuti represented the national team in 2008 CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup, 2011 Nile Basin Tournament, 2011 CHAN, 2015 CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup, and 2016 CHAN. He has also featured in the Africa Cup of Nation Qualifiers and World Cup Qualifiers.
He developed his football talent through secondary football as he featured for Mvara S.S and later St. Joseph College Ombachi in the early 2000s, but had to wait till 2006 to find a major breakthrough to play club football at the age of 16 with Ediofe Hills FC (defunct).
It was at Ediofe when he announced himself in the Ugandan football scene in 2006 after he helped the second division side to qualify for 2007 top flight competition.
Known for his speed, perfect first touch, excellent ball control, ability in the air, powerful and accurate strikes, and ball retention, he was able to catch the eyes of the Uganda Cranes coach Csaba László, who gave him his first call-up to represent the Cranes in the 2007 CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup in Tanzania.
He is remembered for his outstanding performance in the quarter finals of the tournament, where he scored the opener against Kenya and later scored the winner in a 4-2 penalty shootout.
His status as premier league material sealed following the sparkling performance with the national team, Vipers SC came knocking and he opened by signing a three year deal in 2008. Okhuti would later on move to play for Vietnamese side, Vissai Ninh Binh (2011), before returning for his second stint at Vipers SC between 2012 to 2014.
He played for South Sudan side El Nasir in 2014/15 season and came back to Uganda where he featured for Onduparaka FC in 2015, then joined Express FC during the 2015/16 season. His good performance with the Red Eagles earned him a move to KCCA FC in the second round of 2015/2016.
In 2016/17 season, Onduparaka FC acquired his service on a long season loan deal before turning it permanent the following season. Okhuti signed for Arua Hill in January 2020 and was named the team captain by Hussein Mbalangu in October 2020 due to his experience and leadership skills, both on and off the pitch.
He made his Arua Hill debut in March 25, 2021 against Blacks Power FC at Barifa play ground in the FUFA Big League fixture where he scored his debut goal.
He went on to score five goals in nine appearances in regular season. Okhuti who has worked on his beginners coaching badge kicked his last in the Big League finals which the Leopards won 1-0 against Tooro United in August 17, 2021.
Okhuti’s team achievements are also notable: two CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup in 2008 and 2015, two Uganda Premier League title with Vipers SC in 2009/10 and KCCA FC in 2015/16.
Arua Hill wishes Okhuti the best in his next challenge.
Arua Hill SC today held their second last training ahead of Big League finals.
The Leopards preparation was held on an artificial turf in Kyebando so as to enable the lads familiarize with type of ground they will play on in Tuesday’s finals.
Arua Hill will face Rwenzori table toppers Tooro United in the StarTimes FUFA Big League finals in August 17, at the FUFA Technical Centre in Njeru.
Below are some of the shots taken by our photographer Tyler
The Leopards are the second tier champions after a 1-0 victory over Tooro United on August 17, 2021 in Njeru.
Rashid Kawawa scored the consequential goal for the West Nile side in the 22nd minute.
This marks the first Big League trophy won by a West Nile side.
We are so proud of our boys!
Our latest signing Gadafi Wahab who joined from Wakiso Giants on a two years deal has said returning to the region is usual but playing for Arua Hill is business unusual.
The 21-year-old has already joined the club preseason training, with having participated in a couple of sessions, has revealed to club media his observations.
“As a player it’s important to work with a teacher who understands you so as to develop and the home factor, I played home before and know how it feels to play Infront of your own family,” Wahab said.
“But here is not business usual because of the ambition, and the vision the chairman bears for the club and how he wants to transform football in around and see the club develop, which highly calls for higher level of performance which of course is manageable,” he added.
The midfielder continued: “I have a great relationship with the hierarchy, the CEO and PRO which is important in my quest to help achieve our common goal because we’ve worked together before and so we’ll just continue from where we left.”
“I’m grateful to the fans for embracing me and trusting me, their support is massive and surely I will pay them back with positive results.
Wahab spoke of his relationship with teammate Ibrahim Faizul alongside whom he played at Onduparaka before moving together to Wakiso Giants in July 2019.
“I’ve played a lot of games with Ibrahim and we grew up together right from our days of Onduparaka to Wakiso Giants, we understand each other very well, I don’t think I have enjoyed playing in the midfield with anyone else apart from him, maybe I am yet.”
Wahab made 21 appearances in two seasons for Wakiso Giants, scoring four times, and contributing 11 assists. He has said replicating the same is one of his dreams but would want to add trophies too.
“I desire to play in Europe one day, but for now I hope to continue assisting usually, score and win titles for the club.”
Wahab, stands at 5ft 6ins and trained for Uganda U-20 that featured in the COSAFA invitational tournament in 2017 though he didn’t make the final list.
Arua Hill SC Chairman Eng. Joel A’ita Jaffer has advised FUFA to Professionalize Big League in order to have strong Premier League teams.
Eng. A’ita made the recommendation during the third Federation of Uganda Football Association (FUFA) – Uganda Premier League (UPL) breakfast meeting which was convened at Imperial Royal Hotel in Kampala on Tuesday August 8, 2021.
“The Big League needs to be professionalized if we are to achieve the desire of having strong teams in the Uganda Premier League,” Eng. A’ita said.
“This is possible and one of the ways is if the Federation can reign on some few errant referees in the Big League.” He added.
Chairman also echoed the need for clubs to embrace the business bit of football so as to survive in tough times. In his own words he said;
“As we enjoy the fun football provides, we need to look at football as a business. Clubs need to have various sources of business from which they can get facilitation and survival in tough times.”
The meeting also had FUFA President Eng. Moses Magogo and the Uganda Cranes head coach Milutin Sredejovic in attendance.
President Magogo shared his vision for every Ugandan child to kick the ball as he also outlined his mutual idea on professionalizing the game.
“As we look at the future; we want to score a hat-trick – Making a professional league, every child born in the country must have a chance to kick a ball (mass football),” he said before adding, “And seeing success for Ugandan players in their respective clubs and on the national team.”
“We must package well our football because football money comes from television since the money from rich-men and FUFA is limited,” he continued.
“We are at our strongest as football in terms of the people, technology and the conducive environment. It is not the time for fighting because UPL needs very strong clubs.” President Magogo concluded.
Whereas the national team head coach Micho firmly proclaimed the World Cup dream is achievable.
“I am a member of this football institution of UPL. Let us all have open cooperation. The technical part will follow all your work. The FIFA World Cup dream is a realistic journey.” Micho said.
Other FUFA big cheeses that also attended included, third FUFA Vice President, Owek. Florence Nakiwala Kiyingi, FUFA Executive Committee member Hamid “Midi” Juma, Chris Kalibala, UPL Board Member Guy Kawuma, UPL CEO Bernard Bainamani, UPL Chairman Arinaitwe Rugyendo.
The Leopards had a double training session on Monday with the morning session taking place at Tropical Suits meanwhile the evening at Bishop’s pay ground, with focus now turning towards Big League finals with Tooro United at Njeru.
The lad’s drills were instructed by Borine Olima Ahmed and Bosco Onama. Some of our new signings Toha Rashid, Andama Junior, Samuel Ssekamatte and Ibrahim Faizul were present.
Whereas Saaka Sharif and Ivan Eyamu are expected to join the party anytime soon. The training also had the invincible squad of the 2020/21 present.
Follow the workout with the images below…
Centre-back Toha Rashid has joined Arua Hill SC from Vipers SC on a two year deal after mutually agreeing with Vipers SC on termination of contract.
The South Sudan international is tied to the club from West Nile capital Arua until 2023.
Born originally in Adjumani district, with some roots from South Sudan Toha made his club football debut for Onduparaka in 2013-14 season after emerging from Mandela Comprehensive Secondary School in post primary competitions.
Rated the tallest in the Uganda Premier League with height of 6 ft 4in, Toha posses leadership skills, he is considered one of the best defenders in the history of West Nile football but he most notably made a name for himself as a goal scoring defender whilst at Onduparaka after scoring 12 league goals in three top flight seasons.
Striker cum defender, Toha is blessed with set piece skills, characterized for his ability to read play and initiate the build-up play from the first third, establishing himself as a defender with a effective game, and a fundamental-element of the Onduparaka team that earned promotion to the Uganda Premier League in 2016.
Although some folks believe Toha’s pace is questionable, they agree he compensates with his nearly sinless positional play and great reading of the game.
These technical and tactical attributes have been able to enable him make clean interceptions, and clearance besides his good defensive organizational skills and attract interest from Vipers SC which he joined in July 2019 before injuries hampered him from hitting the mark.
Announced that he has joined the Leopards, Toha Rashid unfortunately will not be able to feature until the 2021/22 season kickoff so will not be available for Arua Hill’s Big League finals against Tooro United on Friday 17 August, 2021 in Njeru.
Nonetheless Arua Hill and every Kongolo family member warmly welcomes him and wishes the commander of the air and ground, Toha who commonly uses his stamina to shake opponents off the ball and his likeable tackling ability to win balls the best in the imminent season.