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In pictures: 2018 Road to Anfield tournament

By Joseph Kizza

Added 24th April 2018 02:43 PM

As many as 40 teams took part in the tournament.

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As many as 40 teams took part in the tournament.

FOOTBALL | ROAD TO ANFIELD

The Road to Anfield campaign returned, with Cipla Uganda (Quality Chemicals Ltd) winning the fourth edition of the campaign and therefore securing an all-expenses-paid trip to Anfield, the home of English Premier League side Liverpool FC.

Unlike in the previous three editions, the top team qualified directly this time round, without having to go through the much stiffer regional playoffs.

There was plenty of action on and off the turf at Namboole Stadium during the one-day tournament Saturday, as dozens of teams faced off for a dream trip to the UK.

If you weren't there, let's take you down that lane . . .

'You'll Never Walk Alone' is Liverpool FC's anthem. And sure as day and night, participants of the Road to Anfield campaign walked through the gates of Namboole Stadium in groups and pairs.

While some cast figures of confidence, others had anxiety written all over their faces.

 

 

 

 

The annual tournament presents the perfect opportunity for Standard Chartered Bank clients to fly out several miles overseas to the UK and watch live football stars such as Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane play at Anfield.

But to get there, they have to replicate the stars' skills on the local pitch and then win. One ticket is usually up for grabs for the winning Ugandan team.

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Vision Group has long been an active participant in corporate engagements - football included. The media giant has also had representation in each of the four Road to Anfield campaigns.

A successful trip to Liverpool has remained elusive for Vision Group, though. But then, everything has its time, right?

Patience, boys. You will eventually make it.

For now, the dream lives on.

 

 

Plenty of anxious faces lined the sidelines during the five-a-side tournament.

Visions of airplane food and snow (would it be winter by the time the winner flies to the UK?) darted noisily inside the heads of many a player at Namboole. While some swiftly lost hope, others remained optimistic they would make it through.

 

 

 

"So look here, this is the plan . . . "

Winning tips were passed on from 'coach' to player as the race for a ticket to the UK heated up.

 

 

 

Spectators were aplenty.

Surely, the respective teams had to look for other excuses for not winning. At least not the 'we-had-nobody-to-cheer-us-on' excuse!

Meanwhile, subplots were formed on the sidelines . . .

 

 

 

Football bonds people, we all know, right?

In fact, the bonding goes beyond the action on the pitch, like some spectators proved.

 

 

 

"Hey dude, everythin' okay?"

Of course when a dream fully-paid-for trip is at stake, expect the action to get quite physical.

Some players, like this goalie, may have just found out the hard way.

 

 

 

Trust people with food!

Food is undoubtedly an important ingredient of any outdoor social activity.

It was no different at Namboole.

 

 

 

For some, meal time far way more of a laid-back affair. Oh yes, no rush.

 

 

 

Others sprinkled a dollop of their 'swaggerific' side to their culinary experience.

 

 

 

Some took it a notch higher . . . freezing themselves in time to tell their tales later.

 

 

 

Remember seeing some walking into Namboole Stadium in twos at the beginning?

Others tried out the same move at food time - different ideas but same approach.

Sharp!

 

 

 

Fortunately, Saturday's sporting event was in the good books of the weather gods.

A splash of warm weather over Namboole and you have a tournament at your hands!

 

 

 

Many enjoyed every bit of the action on the pitch.

To one particular watcher, everything sounded like sweet music to her ears. Oh yes!

 

 

 

Clearly, a jolly-good time to spend with buddies.

 

 

 

A wide range of faces were carved on the faces of spectators.

And an air of "Oohs and Aahs" filled the different segmented pitches in use on the day.

 

 

There were scenes of disappoinment and crest-fallen figures on the turf.

But while some sulked . . .

 

 

 

. . . others roared in triumph!

 

 

 

Ululations here and there . . .

 

 

Excitement up and about . . .

 

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A mood of celebration enveloped some camps as the magic wand turned dreams into reality in clear Cinderella-like fashion.

Check what winning means to these people . . .

 

 

 

"Oyee! Oyee! We did it!"

 

 

Quick question: Can you save a penalty blindfolded?

This goalie took on the challenge by the scruff of the neck . . .

 

 

 

 

It was a popular challenge, by the way . . .

 

 

 

Some stared right through the piece of action unfolding with an understandable sense of pessimism.

Cheer up, dude. Cummon!

 

 

 

Often times, the sight of your opponents celebrating is hard to take in. But for the winning camp, nothing feels better than hopping up and down in celebratory animation.

 

 

 

Winners never quit. And quitters never win.

For all those that didn't make it through, at least there were lessons to draw from this year's tournament to make the coming campaign better.

 

 

 

Congratulations are in order for Cipla Uganda, who will fly out to Anfield in a couple of weeks from now to watch some of the English Premier League's finest footballers do what they do best on the pitch.

 

 

 

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