By; Thomas Odongo. If you are a fan or follower of the Azam Uganda Premiere League (AUPL) and you have never heard of a team called Onduparaka United Football Club, then you are like an English Premiere League (EPL) fan/follower who has never heard about a team called Leicester City. It is now a common word among local football pundits, local football fans and the entire sports industry. The rise of Onduparaka into glory and fame has a thick line with that one of the English Premier League champions, Leicester City.
Both teams now have a similarity of pounding heavy teams in the league and stunning the fans and doers of football betting. The slight difference is that Onduparaka is hitting heavy bulls in the kraal during the 2016/2017 AUPL season while Leicester were on top of their game during the 2015/2016 EPL season but none the less that does not deny one to put these two in to the same table and analyse them.
Onduparaka FC also dubbed as the caterpillars was formed in 2011 to play in inter-village competitions. It is now 5 years since Onduparaka was formed and I bet even the caterpillars themselves are surprised of their top flight victory. Football clubs always take a long time to establish but the story of Onduparaka is unique.
Many city dwellers including celebrities, people from West Nile and die-hard soccer fans are these days found of travelling to Arua in case Onduparaka FC is playing at their home ground (The Green Light stadium). For example BET Award winner, Eddy Kenzo travelled to the Green Light stadium when Onduparaka was playing Police FC on Saturday, 24th September 2016. Eddy Kenzo first showed up at Betway just around the stadium and it took locals there less than a minute to recognise him. His presence excited the fans and the management of Onduparaka FC. However it is not clear which of the two clubs (Onduparaka and Police) Kenzo was siding with but what I am sure is that Kenzo was interested to see with his own eyes the class of football the Caterpillars can display especially at the Green Light as it is always reported by the media.
Festo Aiku, a resident of Onduparaka and one of the staunchest fans says that he has been watching this team playing since 2011 when it was formed to play inter-village football competitions. He says that the Caterpillars always emerged champions for a series of village competitions and there classy performance does not surprise him although the new fans are still in a shock. The team also seems to be working in accordance to their motto, ‘’The Struggle Continues.’’
The Caterpillars have stunned AUPL teams with defeats especially at their home ground for example hitting Police FC 2-1 and even beating the champions, KCCA 2-1 at the Green Light stadium including holding Express FC with a 1-1 draw at Muteesa 1 stadium, Wankulukuku.
Two of Onduparaka’s players Rashid Toha and their captain Mohammed Shaban have been named in the Uganda Cranes current squad by the crane’s coach, Micho as per the press conference held at FUFA house on Wednesday, 21st September 2016. This is a big achievement for the team and their coach, Leo Andra is pleased with his captain and Rashid Toha.
What every soccer fan, football pundit and the entire sports industry is waiting to see is where the Caterpillars will finish on the table at the end of this 2016/2017 season. Some people have already started speculating that they are going to be the AUPL champions for this season.