Kitara FC has a template for clubs

Nov 30, 2023

A closer scrutiny of the squad and particularly the starting lineup reveals an amazing signature; as many as eight players are home boys.

Kitara FC has a template for clubs

Aldrine Nsubuga
Columnist @New Vision

The story has been told already, but perhaps not in full. The dramatic rise of Kitara FC who until six months ago were a FUFA Big League side has more behind it than the local community support.

A closer scrutiny of the squad and particularly the starting lineup reveals an amazing signature; as many as eight players are home boys.

Superstar Kabon Living, Brian Aheebwa, Jasper Aheebwa, Dudu Ramathan, Frank Tumwesigye, Jude Semugabi, Omedi Dennis, and defensive man mountain Nyakoojo Benjamin all hail from the Bunyoro - Tooro axis. 

The framers of the making of Kitara understood early the importance of regional identity if they were ever going to rally the local community behind the team. As a deliberate strategy therefore, they set out as part of their recruitment policy to scout and search for local boys who had been signed by clubs outside Bunyoro and lure them back home. 

It didn’t matter that the players they were looking for were playing at big Kampala clubs like KCCA, Express, URA, or even Vipers. When, for example, during this season’s transfer market they decided to sign Kabon, Aheebwa, and Tumwesigye, analysts criticized them for buying downgraded recycled players who could not add much to their fortunes. The unbothered Kitara management was doing nothing new for those who had paid enough attention to their recent history, which also explained the signing of Nyakoojo. With Banyoro forming the bulk of the backbone of the team, motivation has not been a problem.

 The knowledge that they have full home support that includes family, neighbours, village mates, and schoolmates works like an automated switch that drives the natural adrenalin. In reverse, the men, women, and children of Bunyoro have a sense of pride that their sons are promoting their kingdom through football. They unreservedly, therefore, buy match tickets and flock to the home stadium and once there, they become the 12th player against the visiting team. The management, coaching team, and players feel accountable to the home community they represent and work with their hearts on their sleeves. 

Everywhere the players go in their day-to-day activities outside the field, they are instantly recognized and mobbed. They are local heroes and it drives a deeper sense of responsibility to succeed as a way of giving back to the people who offer unreserved support. When the team travels to play away from home in Kampala, Busoga, West Nile, or Mbarara, tens of thousands in Hoima, Masindi, and Kagadi stay glued to television and radio. The football club has become the face of Bunyoro and they all want to be a part. 

Among their victims so far this season include record champions Villa, second most successful club KCCA, Wakiso, and Eastern giants Gaddafi. They picked a point from URA. So good have they been in the first seven games that when they suffered their first defeat of the season to the Maroons, the result was a surprise to many. If anyone had predicted at the start of the season that Kitara would be second after seven games, they would have been called crazy. It is what it is, however. 

It is the next three games against NEC, Express, and Vipers that will confirm the context that this column seeks to present, however. NEC are also in a hot streak at the moment, just a point below them while Express and Vipers are the other big boys traditionally. If Kitara manages to pick five points from a possible maximum of nine as a bare minimum, the team will have earned the right to sit at the table of men. With a target to return to Hoima for the second round of their home games, anything will be possible thereafter. 

The Kitara story is not one for mere entertainment but a lesson to the rest of the clubs, UPL and FUFA. The inherent strength of a football club is its heritage and identity. Deliberate efforts must be made to create the right buzz around the club that eventually transmits to the players. Kitara is a lesson on how to build a local football club.

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