Ssentongo is 2011-12 BEST
New Bell Super League champions Express got the reward they so richly deserved for winning their first title in 16 years at the awards cocktail on Friday.Eight of the 17 plaques handed out at Serena Hotel went to the Red Eagles. However, the biggest of them all, the Footballer of the Year plaque, went to Robert Ssentongo.
This, given in recognition of the late Philip Omondi, came with Shs1.5m envelope for the URA striker, who finished the season with 13 goals as his team finished third.
He had already picked the Golden Boot, named after the legendary Magid Musisi (RIP), and Shs0.5m, the minimum each category winner got.
“I didn’t know if people would vote me. I thought people would be biased,” an elated Ssentongo, in faded blue jeans and checkered short-sleeved shirt, said.
“I am very happy people appreciate what I did this season,” the pint-sized Uganda Cranes forward, added.
The former Simba, KCC, SC Villa, AGF IF (Denmark) and African Lyon (Tanzania) hit man was not appropriately dressed for the occasion.
He must have also wished to be a member of the Express family. Their sweep started early when they were honoured as the best fans.
It ended with Salim Jamal being named Best goalkeeper ahead of Proline’s Yasin Mugabi and Allan Owiny (URA).
Ssimbwa best coach
In between the two, Sam Simbwa picked the Best Coach’s gong, accompanied by wife Sophie Nantogo, and Jamal had already got a first as Young Player of the Year.With only 18 yellow cards and no sending off throughout the season, Ssimbwa’s team also got the Fair Play Award.
Bonny Baingana’s dazzling goal in the 2-0 win over SC Villa when he sliced the defence open before rounding the keeper was also voted the best.
Sponsors also named him their favourite player and for being the Team of the Season, Express got a further Shs3m.
“It’s good to win but I hope to do better,” Baingana, whose future at Wankulukuku is uncertain, said.
Simeon Masaba (URA) and the exciting Kizito Luwaga (Bunnamwaya) got recognition as the finest in defence and midfield respectively.
Juma Lubega, a Police player since 1990, with 18 years of experience in the top division, was also recognized as Longest Serving.
In the presence of Hon. Edward Ssekandi, the vice president, Cecafa founder member Kezekiah Ssegwanga Musisi was recognized in the Lifetime Achievement category.
His plague was received jointly by Fufa chief executive officer (Ceo) Edgar Watson and Uganda Super League (USL) board member Fred Muwema as a symbol of reconciliation.
“This league is a foundation for the national team. We could also have amnesty being given,” Ssekandi told the guests
He was referring to the 11-year ban handed out by Fufa to USL chairman Kavuma Kabenge and one-year suspension of CEO Jimmy Ssegawa last year.
The two are still active in USL’s daily running and the endless war between the two bodies rages, at least the ongoing constitutional review is completed.
Kabenge had already spoken prior, appealing to stakeholders, mainly the sponsors and government, not to get “tired of resolving our wars.”