By Denis Turyahebwa
Uganda’s Express Football club beat Malawi’s Nyasa Big bullets football club to be crowned Champions of the Cecafa Kagame Cup 2021 on Saturday night at the Benjamin Mkapa National stadium, Tanzania.
Martin Kizza’s 22nd-minute goal was enough to seal the triumph for the Red Eagles, who have now become the fourth Ugandan side to win the regional crown, joining KCCA FC, SC Villa and Police FC.
This has been Express’ third appearance in the Kagame Cup final, after reaching the final in 1994 and 1995, losing both finals to Sudan’s El Merrikh and Tanzania’s Simba respectively.
Express has been unstoppable throughout the tournament, winning all but one of their five games. Only Big Bullets had dared to stand in the Red Eagle’s way, holding them to a 1-1 draw in their earlier encounter in the group stages.
Bbosa maintained the same starting lineup that prevailed in the semi-final against KMKM.
Kizza scored the only goal of the game after 20 minutes from Erick Kambale’s pass. The goal was the winger’s first in the tournament and Express’ eighth in total.
Big Bullets nearly found the equalizer in the 36th minute, but Bright Munthali failed to find the target five yards in front of the goal.
Bbosa made some quick technical changes early in the second half. Charles Musiige replaced George Senkaaba in the 46th minute, as assistant captain Abel Etrude came on for Muzamiru Mutyaba minutes later, understandably to protect the backline.
And it did pay off as Express managed to hold onto their slender advantage and win their first regional crown in history, claiming the title from rivals KCCA who won it in 2019.
How both teams lined up
Express starting XI: Joel Mutakubwa (GK), Enock Walusimbi (C), Arthur Kiggundu, Murushid Juuko, Issa Lumu, Muzamiru Mutyaba, Mahad Kakooza, John Byamukama, Martin Kizza, Godfrey Lwesibawa, Erick Kambale
Subs: Dennis Otim, Chrispus Kusiima, Denis Mubuya, Charles Musiige, Daniel Shabene, Ivan Mayanja, George Senkaaba, Faisal Ssekyanzi
Big Bullets starting XI: Rabson Chiyenda, Gomezhani Chirwa, Nickson Nyasulu, Sankhani Mkandawire, Yamikani Fodya, Chimango Kayira, Chimwemwe Idana (C), Precious Phiri, McFarlane Mgwira, Babatunde Adepoju, Bright Munthali
Subs: Ernst Kahobwe, Erick Kaonga, Anthony Mfune, Paul Kasungwi, Chiukepo Msowoya, Hassan Kajoke, Blessings Mpokera, Miracle Gabeya, Benson Manyozo