- All Sport. New sponsors Fresh Dairy believe Mbale was a perfect choice. “We haven’t noted any security issues. The host school has done more than enough. In short, Mbale has been welcoming,” marketing manager Vincent Omoth remarked in an interview.
KAMPALA. For the entire week, the people of Mbale have been glued to different events happening across their main town at the annual Fresh Dairy Secondary School Games.
Most crowds gathered at the Mbale Municipal Stadium, Soko pitch and two more venues for the girls’ football contests, understandably so.
And no doubt top sides Kawempe Muslim School and Gadaffi Integrated School picked up the biggest following.
“This place is usually not busy,” one man, preferring anonymity, commented as Kawempe eliminated Olila High School during the last 16 stage at the Municipal Stadium early this week.
From the right side of the stadium, the Wanale Hill hovers in the background, offering a beautiful sight of the pitch at the old facility.
“Even though we have clubs like Garage and CRO, there is usually no much activity here,” the man went on before the conversation divulged to the old good Mbale Heroes.
“This stadium is mainly busy in the year during Mbale Trade Show which actually spoils this venue. We hardly have sporting events like these ones because most events are taken to Tororo and not Mbale,” he added.
This was the first time Mbale hosted these Ball Games that also included lawn tennis, boys’ rugby 15s, table tennis, hockey, basketball and badminton.
“Most games are new to the people here,” said Ramathan Sebaale, a motorcyclist from Mbale town.
“People here had never seen people play with sticks,” Sebaale said about hockey. “But if they had advertised more here, the venues would have filled up even more,” added the man who settled in this town of eastern Uganda a decade ago.
Basketball, hockey, badminton and table tennis were played at the host venue - Mbale Secondary School.
Organisers Uganda Secondary School Sports Association (USSSA) officials had to scratch their heads to remember the last time Mbale held Games of this nature.
“No,” USSSA treasurer Justus Mugisha told SCORE. “Mbale has never hosted these Games but we came here for Ball Games II (netball and handball) some years back,” he said.
In 2003, Mbale hosted the renowned and currently going Copa Coca Cola which was won by Old Kampala. And that’s how scanty it is about sporting events and this land of the Masaba and Gishu.
New sponsors Fresh Dairy believe Mbale was a perfect choice. “We haven’t noted any security issues. The host school has done more than enough. In short, Mbale has been welcoming,” marketing manager Vincent Omoth remarked in an interview.
“Most importantly for the participants, we are able to have most disciplines within the town unlike other places. We have all the infrastructure that we need for the Games.”
All students have been able to get accommodation within a radius of a kilometre.
“The kind of advertising and media buying that we have put into this has made Mbale as the key focus at this time in Uganda. The businesses have gone up in terms of number of people here with places for sleeping filling up and commercial aspects as well,” Omoth noted.
Owing to the much inactivity, Fresh Dairy came in on improving some facilities. “We’ve raised stature like the school basketball courts and gave tennis nets at the Sports Club,” he added.
About 2500 participating students received two sets of kit each from the sponsors and by Wednesday, more than 7000 litres of Fresh Dairy had been consumed.
As the Games climax tomorrow, the hope is that every stakeholder feels the way the Mbale SS motto goes: ‘Triumph beyond the stars’.