By Denis Turyahebwa
The 2021 FUFA Big League officially kicked off on Thursday 25th March 2021 after a long wait of 8 matches played in different regions of the country.
The league is divided into two groups that are the Elgon and Rwenzori groups and each group has eight teams that play fourteen games each and the leader of every group qualifies straight to the Star-Times Uganda Premier League.
Meanwhile, in the games played in the Elgon group, the newly promoted club Gadaffi FC bagged their first win in matchday one after overcoming Mbale Heroes 1-0 at the Kyabazinga Stadium in Bugembe, Jinja.
Former Wydad Casablanca Hitman Joel Madondo came to the rescue of Gaddafi FC with a goal in the 35th minute that secured all three points for the new boys.
Gaddafi FC should have scored in the second minute of the game but Frank Mulimi failed to execute a golden ball given to him by Madondo when the visitors’ goalkeeper Hilbert Hatimu acrobatically put a hand on his effort.
Mbale hero got a superb chance at the Gadaffi’s goal in the eighth minute but it was put to waste by Vicent Owundo whose effort went wide.
In the tenth minute, Gadaffi’s Mulimi delivered a beautiful corner kick to the area but Mbale Heroes defender Joash Opima blocked the effort successfully to deny the hosts.
Moments later, Gadaffi’s Ronald Bithum picked up a head injury after a collision with Mbale’s Jamaldin Buchochera but he was able to get treatment and return to the pitch.
Mbale Heroes captain Buchochera was booked for a challenge on Madondo in the 30th minute.
Gaddafi right back Ibrahim Massa was booked in the 28th minute for a reckless tackle Mbale Heroes Joel Male before Akapyo also was shown a yellow card for a challenge on Gaddafi captain Pascal Ngobi.
Madondo volleyed home to put the hosts in the lead 1-0 in the 36th minute thanks to a perfectly executed chip by Mulimi from the right.
Mbale Heroes replaced Vincent Owundo with Davis Mayanja at halftime in pursuit of an equalizer before they also subbed on Ronald Magwali for SC Villa talisman replacing Akakyo moments later.
Gaddafi FC also made a double substitution in the 55th minute bringing on Steven Munguchi and Ronald Obele to replace Bithum and Kyeyune respectively. They later made a third change in the 63rd minute to introduce Giddy Otika for Oluka Okori.
Madondo curled over a free-kick in the 70th minute but the effort went wide and five minutes later, Godwin Kawagga replaced Mulimi.
In the dying minutes of the game, defender Fesali Najib was stretchered out with a knee injury but the center referee did not wait for the substitute a d he ended the game 1-0 in favor of the hosts.
Elsewhere, in other Elgon group matches, Maroons overcame Paidha Black Angels 3-1 at the Prisons Stadium, Luzira.
Another newly-promoted side Calvary edged Mbale-based Kataka 1-0 at the Green Light Stadium in Arua.
Arua Hill smiled 3-1 over Blacks Power (formerly Bukedea Town Council) at the Barifa play-ground.
Matchday two continues over the weekend with a well-lined-up fixture of games at different venues with the key of Maroons visiting Gaddafi in Jinja.
Gaddafi FC 1-0 Mbale Heroes FC
Arua Hill FC 3-1 Blacks Power FC
Maroons FC 3-1 Paidha Black Angels FC
Calvary FC 1-0 Kitaka FC