Kirya afraid Masaza Cup could still be played behind closed doors

By Edwin Kyle Kule

According to Gomba head coach Ibrahim Kirya, it’s always meaningless to hold the Masaza tournament without fans in the stadiums.

On Wednesday, Buganda Kingdom Minister of Sports, Leisure and Recreation Owek, Henry Moses Ssekabembe noted that the 2021 edition could be held amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“Whenever we play the Masaza Cup tournament without fans it losses meaning,” Kirya told Football256 in an interview before adding.

“I do not know how they are planning to do it. Though I would like to request that they should see how to have at least a few fans in the stadia to give the competition a positive mood,” he added.

Kirya guided the Gomba Lions to a fifth Masaza title in March 2021 when they beat Buddu 3-1 at St. Mary’s Stadium, Kitende.

The SC Villa assistant head coach, believes it’s a good initiative to plan on how this year’s edition could be played.

Due to the pandemic, last year’s tournament started late in December 2020 and ended in March 2021. All the games were played at Fufa Technical Centre, Njeru apart from the final game which was played at Kitende.

Players, officials and support staff in each group were tested before they could enter the bubble and while their movement was restricted.

“Players were not used to being in camp and so many were negatively affected. As a team, we missed our fans because their support would have pushed the boys in the hard games.”

“And simply because there were no fans, the teams were bankrupt since their main source of income is gate collection. Most players didn’t get their sign-on-fees and other arrears,” Kirya noted.

Kirya also told this reporter that it was tough for him and his technical team to see that the players kept pushing through those hard moments until they won the title.

“I always told the boys, making a name as a champion mattered most than the salaries demanded. I am proud that they believed in me and we emerged champions at last,” he concluded.

Before the 2020 triumph, Gomba had previously won Buganda’s most prestigious football tournament in 2004, 2009, 2014, and 2017.

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