Kampala. Aziz Damani Sports Club are living their dream. Only last year, their Chief Executive Officer Siva Koti Reddy said he wants the club to sway away from just being a cricket club to a sporting empire.
Two weeks ago, a ladies cricket club Masaka Secondary School was added to their ranks. Masaka, who are dictating pace in the Second Division of National Women’s League, have now taken up a new name in Aziz Damani Masaka Cricket Club.
On Sunday at Kyambogo Oval after their men’s outfit sripted a 188-run win over Nile to stay in the race for the Jazz Safari National League title, Koti announced that the empire had grown further with the addition of Kawempe-based First Division outfit Katooke United FC.
Koti said he was delighted with the progress the sports club was taking in just under 12 months and also disclosed that he was also in partnership with Soroti Cricket Academy for plans to build them a cricket oval and avail cricket equipment for the newly set up academy.
“After their coach Yusuf Nanga contacted, I noticed Masaka SS and the girls there have talent which pushed me to support them,” said Koti said.
Most interesting of all is that Koti has stretched his giving hand to football club Katooke United. “My focus is already to develop sports,” he said at the event attended by 18 players and three officials from Katooke.
Both new franchises take up the name Aziz Damani. But how did Koti, whose fabric is cricket, end up in football? “I told him about our club when I went to do for him some routine work,” said Katooke’s manager Francis Awiti.
“One day, I heard him talk cricket so I thought he could support us,” narrated Awiti, an electrician by profession. Luckily, Awiti’s club, formed in 1976 by his father and others in Mityana before shifting to Kawempe in 1990, easily convinced Koti after it earned promotion recently to the Fufa Kampala Central Division One.
“Our biggest challenge has been financial hitches over the years,” Awiti said. “So with this, we are capable of attracting better players and I believe the club is destined for greater things.”
“If I take over something, I give my best,” said Koti who has been encouraged by Damani’s consistency in just three years as justified by the 2015 Night Cricket, 2016 Division Two and T20 Kishor Pabari Memorial titles.
“I don’t see anything commercial and that’s why we registered the club as a NGO. I have plans to secure land and start a sports academy to develop sports in Uganda like badminton, tennis and more.”
“Of course, it is a financial burden but I have sponsors mainly Balaji Group, ABC, Gittoes Pharmaceuticals and Ketan Shukla. We are committed to growing the Aziz Damani family,” added Koti.
AZIZ DAMANI FAMILY
CRICKET: Aziz Damani (Men), Masaka SS
FOOTBALL: Katooke United
SPONSORS: Balaji Grop, ABC, Gittoes
Pharmaceuticals, Ketan Shukla
AZIZ DAMANI TROPHY CABINET
2017 UCA Super Cup
2016 Kishor Pabari Memorial
2016 National Division Two Champions
2015 Night Cricket Tournament winners
ABOUT KATOOKE UNITED FC
Full Name: Katooke United
First Location: Mityana
Present-day Base: Kawempe (since 1990)
Tier: FUFA Kampala Central Division I
Manager: Francis Awiti
Coach: Fred Musiba
Captain: Emmason Wasswa
Four decades of existence. In 2008, the team played three rounds in the Uganda Cup and took part in its 2010 and 2012 editions. Previously, the club competed in the Wakiso District First Division (2012) but the teams were many and they got financially constrained. In 2015, they moved to Kawempe Division but teams were too competitive and strong. Since 2012, the club recruits non-licensed players using the Kawempe Golden Videos’ Cup, masterminded by Awiti. The team finished second out of 18 teams last season to earn promotion from the Fufa Kampala Central Div. II to tier I. If they do the same next season, they will join the Kampala Regional League.