Samari Ajobe discusses ten years at Arua Hill, working under different coaches, and promotion frustration



Samari Ajobe discusses ten years at Arua Hill, working under different coaches, and promotion frustration

Ten years ago, a defensive midfielder signed for Arua Hill SC  because club founder and coach Bosco Onama “told me to join his project that would turn professional and big brand”.

Today, the longest serving player Samari Ajobe is still part of the journey of even a bigger project at least in his opinion but under different management and ownership amidst opposing and negative voices suggesting the materialization is overdue.

Coach Hussien Mbalangu has acknowledged the player is still pivotal in his midfield unit that will help in obtaining the club objective.

The gaffer offered him 90 minutes in the last fixture against Maroons FC that ended goalless, a clear prove he has faith in the player.

Ajobe who has gone through the hands of nine coaches in his decade career with the Leopards noted the gaffer is the right man with what it takes to guide the team across the red sea and beyond the desert.

The coaches who have tutelaged  him at the club include Bosco Onama whom the 28 year old found at the helm in 2011, the late Achikule Brahan 2013/14, Borin Ahmed 2014/15, Wako Shababa 2015/16, Dudu Bosco 2016/17, Omari Loy 2017/18, Anthony Bongoole 2018/19, Morris Adiga and Bosco Onama 2019/20 and Hussein Mbalangu 2020/2021

A decade after Ajobe’s arrival from Yumbe side Samba Boys, coach Onama’s promise has been proven right. Joel A’ita Jaffer launched the takeover that is to metamorphose the Leopards and see them come out from the shadow cast of Arua’s face Onduparaka FC in the West Nile ‘hemisphere’ with promotion to the Uganda Premier League considered a destination that must be achieved yesterday.

An evidence that shows  the dreams are beginning to unfold is the growing number of fans base who have shown vigor in their authentic support with massive turn up for home matches with the club forced to painful deny others access due to the MoH guidelines through the Federation on limiting the spectators so as to fight the spread of Covid-19.

In economic sense, the club has witenessed some reforms through the unusual demand of club kits by fans who have continued to purchase the kits at unimaginable quantity as they demand restock even when there are few remains.

The club has also established an unmatched online presence through social media platforms and launching of first ever website that has created an avenue to reach out like never before to an ever engaging fan base.

Retired goal keeper Sabir Adro now working in the UAE, Counsel Buga Nasur a practicing lawyer, winger Solomon Ovoyo now plying his trade in Italy and Gadafi Gadinho who had his first stint with the club in 2015/16 season are some of the few players Ajobe has recognized greatest he has played alongside.

Reflecting on his decade at Arua Hill, Ajobe said: “When I arrived after buying the dreams and ambitions of Bosco Onama who told me he is building a professional club, it didn’t occur to me that I would spend this long period of time with the club,”

“It’s been a special journey with ups and downs, frustration from failing to qualify and an experience worth having.

“I remember particularly during the era of Aziz, we had so much hope that we would qualify but when it didn’t happen, it wasn’t easy to take in.”

Ajobe was in former coach Borin’s  2014/15 squad that beat Koboko Rising Stars 2-1 in West Nile Regional League play offs as the club attained promotion to the StarTimes FUFA Big League.

Following the promotion, the club dreamt of  keeping promotion streak progressive but five seasons down the road, Arua Hill has remained a mainstay and stagnant in the same level after finishing eighth, sixth and seventh in 2015/16, 2016/17 and 2017/18 with player cum owner Buga Nasur running the club meanwhile Wako Shababa, Bosco Dudu and Omari Loy doing the coaching.

Hopes had risen at the arrival of new owners Aziz Damani in 2018/19 season following the hefty investment by the sports loving  Pharmacists but that didn’t not help much as the club still finished below the expected zone that couldn’t fuel its move to the top level.

“In the previous seasons, we lacked diverse talent and exposure as we were fully local players and coaches,” Ajobe said on possible factors that could have made it difficult to get promoted before adding,

“We now have players and coaches from central Uganda and other parts of the country and experienced players who’ve done it before like Okhuti, Agau and others with great character and ambition,  players who have the team at heart and you can see it with the kind of unity and professionalism they exhibit.”

Optimistic Ajobe believes this is the final season Arua Hill will spend in the Big League because he trusts in the works of Hussein Mbalangu.

“Boss Mbalangu has all it takes to guide us to the premier league because he is tactically knowledgeable and a transparent coach,” Ajobe said.

“With the way he coaches, this might be our last season in the Big League, I’m positive.” He noted.

Samari Ajobe, born on 11th December 1992 in Arua, Uganda is a versatile player who primarily plays defensive midfield but is also capable of playing in all defensive positions including, central defense and fullback.

He stands out for good tackles and long range shots that occasionally registers him in the score sheet.

He started his football journey in the District School Football Tournaments with Arua Secondary School in 2007. The following year, he joined Yumbe S.S with which he won the Post Primary District Championships in 2009 and 2010.

His remarkable success in secondary football came in A-Level with Risah Standard Academy. With the Lugazi side in 2012, Samari won the District tournament, Regional tournament and lost the Post Primary Copa Coca Cola finals to St. Mary’s Kitende in Tororo.

Samari joined 4th Division side Samba Boys in 2010 as his first club. The year after, he joined Arua Hill SC and has since been our player till date.