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Ssingo inflict another wound on Buddu to lift Masaza Cup

Ssingo wins second championship against the same opponents they thrashed in 2015

FOOTBALL | Suffice to call it a weekend of derbies but before the El Clasico in Spain on Sunday, the Soweto Derby in South Africa and a fierce Buganda counties rivalry had to be settled.

Like with The Calabash (FNB Stadium in Soweto), the 45,202-capacity Mandela National Stadium, Namboole, proved too small a venue only for the third time since 2010 as Masaza Cup drew dwellers from most parts of Buganda for the match in which Buddu was seeking to settle an account it has with arch rivals Ssingo County.

But the day ultimately belonged to Ssingo county as they lifted the Masaza Cup for the second time in three years, beating the same rivals they outclassed and humiliated in 2015.

The 5-0 thrashing at the hands of Ssingo is not something Buddu was about to forget. In local speak, Ssingo had taken Buddo to Mukono (five fingers) and the decision to host this year’s final at Namboole proved critical as much as it was ironical.

Critical because the organisers got it right to accommodate as many as possible at the biggest venue that turned out a little too small nevertheless, but ironical in that Ssingo was actually drawing Buddu eastward toward Mukono.

However, this time round, Buddu was not about to see five fingers jabbed in their face in a feisty finale that could only be settled with one unlucky shot from the spot after 23 had found the mark.

On a day of opposites and ironies before the Kabaka of Buganda, Ronald Mutebi II, Ssingo’s answer to Buddu’s lanky goalscorer Frank Ssebufu was a diminutive Mande Kakooze, who restored parity 10 minutes after the eventual winners had been pegged back with a predatory strike.

Despite slapping gate charges, Namboole was filled up by 1pm in a match beamed live to millions of other viewers on the kingdom’s BBS Television.

Although Buddu appeared determined to banish the memories of the unwanted ‘trip to Mukono three years ago, they could not break a stubborn Ssingo side whose coach Shafiq Bisaso wasn’t in a mood for taking consolations.

In their fifth final of the traditional championship, Ssingo had only won it once under the guidance of Bisaso, the same tactician they deployed to repeat the sweet victory of three years earlier.

He didn’t disappoint as his tactical change after falling behind early in the second half immediately balanced the tied so well there would be no more turbulence in normal time.

For the first time in Masaza Cup final, extra time was played. In the past teams that could not be separated after 90 minutes went direct to post-match kickoffs, but there was a second chance for the deadlock to broken.

It wasn’t and the nervy penalties became the last alternative.

Frank Ssebufu completed his cycle from hero to villain when he joined Kakooza on the indictment for missing their spot kicks. He had the golden chance to settle the account but blasted it wide.

The two players who had scored in normal time missed their penalties and it would, ironically, be another Ssebufu to hand Ssingo the championship to Ssingo.

Meanwhile, Busujju, who were eliminated by Buddu in the semi-final, took the consolation third-place with a 1-nil victory over Buwekulal.

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