Mawejje sets the ball rolling, will other players follow?

Just a few weeks after celebrated Ugandan footballer, Tonny Mawejje hung up his soccer boots, the iconic Cranes midfielder took to the pitch one last time for a farewell match between The famous Uganda Cranes AFCON 2017 team and the current Uganda U-23 team.

The event that happened at Lugogo on Wednesday September 14, like a proper testimonial football match should, brought together some of the best players in Uganda ‘from Mawejje’s generation’ plus the current crop of upcoming stars.

There’s no need therefore, to explain why there had to be star-studded line-ups on show; From Mawejje himself, Dennis Onyango, Godfrey Walusimbi Emmanuel Okwi, and company to Muhammad Shaban, Salim Abdallah and Hakim Kiwanuka among other new boys on the block who only used to watch Mawejje play on their TV screens.

Denis Onyango also turned up for the day. | Ismail Mulangwa

Now, that’s what football should be for wishes turning into reality and dreams coming true.

In many ways, the game was just what was expected, a little bit disappointing we didn’t see a chock-full of goals and huge scorelines. It was nevertheless, an entertaining game characterized by flair over tactics.

Mawejje’s testimonial, for so many reasons, did not disappoint because it was fun and memorable. Though the turn up was less than what was expected for the farewell of the ‘Midfield General’.

You can atleast say that well, everyone got served what they wanted; Mawejje the love he expected and the fans the ambiance they wished to see.

The fans were happy to see the General hang boots. | Airtel Photo

Offcourse, we have had a number of such worthy to be celebrated players before, but they have not signed out in the flamboyant style that the ‘Midfield General’ has.

Even in retirement, he still stays quite a unique figure just like he was throughout his playing journey.

That’s quite good for him to stand out, but not so good for football lovers in general. What he did was good, the same reason more of such moments should be created more often.

Hakim Kiwanuka placed Uganda U-23 ahead before Emmanuel Okwi comfortably levelled matters off Paul Mucureezi’s sweet assist.

Shaban Muhammed later sealed Mawejje All Stars’ win after converting from close range.

“I want to thank all my fans for turning. I am humbled that people have turned up to support the initiative of starting up a midfielder’s academy. Please continue supporting our talent because by doing so we shall reach the top,” Mawejje noted shortly after the game.

“Uganda is blest with a lot of talent. We as a country have to come up with a collective force to see that we support and create a conducive environment to see them spur,” he added.

“I play to start an academy and it will concentrate on midfielders. I believe with my knowledge and guidance we shall be able to see well organized players of the next generation,” he concluded.

The two sides will face in a second leg at Masaka Recreation on Friday September 16.

For starters, Mawejje began his football career at Masaka Local Council FC and concluded at Police FC last season (2021/22).

We wait to see if other stars will take on the ball that has been set rolling by the ‘Midfield General’.

Thank You Mawejje, we wish you a fruitful retirement!!!!

How they they lined up:

Mawejje’s All-Star XI: Dennis Onyango(GK), Isaac Isinde, Godfrey Walusimbi, Hassan Wasswa, Joseph Ochaya, Dennis Iguma, Eddy Kenzo, Tonny Mawejje ©, Paul Mucureezi, Yunus Sentamu, EmmanuelOkwi

Uganda Cranes (U23) Xl: Denis Otim (GK), James Begisa, Gavin Kizito ©, Derrick Ndahiro, Ibrahim Juma, Kenneth Ssemakula, Bobosi Byaruhanga, Isma Mugulusi, Hakim Kiwanuka, Rogers Mato, Richard Basangwa.

Uganda U-23 | Airtel Photo

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