Garuga Soccer Academy are buoyant ahead of the U13 National Championship Qualifiers (Entebbe region) due Friday April 29.
The Academy, located on a peninsula along the Northern shores of Lake Victoria, unveiled two sponsors – Madutu Coffee and Cherish Uganda.
It’s a huge milestone in the history of the academy that is taking steps in nurturing and moulding the future stars.
They are pitted in Group A alongside Five Stars, Bweya, Azteks and Entebbe Red Stars for a tourney that will be played at Cherish Health Centre Playground.
“It’s always important for the child to go through an academy,” stated Academy Chairman Amadan Aziz.
“Its from the academy where the child acquire the basics of the game and discipline as well which are our major emphasis here at Garuga SA.”
Aziz reveals that they face a couple of challenges because they house about 100 kids who are mostly orphans.”
“There is need to get someone to give us a hand, because it becomes hard for us to sustain these kids. Training equipments are there but they may not be enough, some times we need a hand in terms of Transportation to match venues among others including Feeding and accomodations for these kids, but we are trying hard.”
“We believe that we are moulding these kids to represent the whole of Uganda, so FUFA and other corporate companies will always be needed to offer a helping hand.”
The Genesis of Garuga Soccer Academy
Lunyinga Francis is a teacher by profession at St. Paul Bulega Primary School.
And in 2010, started coaching the kids of St .Paul Bulega PS, but little did he know that an Academy will be born from his other passion.
“I was very happy having kids who were very talented,” Lunyiga states. “This inspired me to start with them a soccer training grouping amidst the challenges like playing boots but I was always encouraged that I could get something out of these players.”
He says that he got challenges including lack of interest from the parents who initially thought he was wasting their kids’ time while other parents thought that their kids were attending the trainings just to dodge house work.
Lunyiga adds that his grouping became more serious and started to go for games in nearby areas like Nkumba, Kawuku and at times Kampala.
“We struggled to get money for transport at times especially for trips to Kampala, the issues of feeding, first aid, at times we could even borrow kits from our competitors to ensure that we observe some bit of smartness, actually at times we could even win without Jerseys now and we could get supporters from other places where we used to go.”
He passionately singles out one boy he has been with since 2012.
“He is called Gerald Kazibila. He is still with us now, he was in Nurrsery then but because he was talented, I was forced to promote him to Primary One, we had a bursary offer from a certain NGO, but he skipped like two classes because I wanted him to access the bursary. He is left footed and he is soon going for trials abroad. He now he is 14 years.”
Along the way, a couple of these kids saw their talents go to waste after completing primary level.
Lunyiga says that he on various occasions took steps in ensuring that the kids are taken to football playing secondary schools.
Players like goalkeeper Godfrey Kasule recently in Busujju (Masaza Cup) is one of their products.
And as the number increased, the training ground became too small.
The team since 2012, was refered to as Bulega Soccer Academy in relation to Lunyiga being a teach at St Paul Bulega Primary School.
In 2020, Lunyiga tried to upgrade his initiative to another level including acquiring a new jersey.
“But parents were still not interested,” Lunyiga remembers. “But we finally got the jerseys.”
“In 2020, then one parent called me and asked whether I had a sponsor, he used to give us support very often.
“So he told me I’m going to be your sponsor. So we had to regroup and organize. We had to streamline everything to soccer I even thought of changing the names.”
That parent is the current chairman of the Academy – Amadan Aziz.
And the academy was born in 2020, changing the name to Garuga Soccer Academy.
“We got bursaries from different schools. We want all our footballers to be in school since this generation needs organised people. This is in line with our objectives since we want to make and produce professional players and also those who can play for our local teams.”
“We have new patners coming on board from UK, they are just waiting for our registration and by May we hope everything will be done.
“So if we finalize our registration, our partners in UK will be taking some of the kids. We want to produce organised and talented players, just like our motto says: “Discipline and Talent.”
Garuga SA have already put up an accommodation for the kids that will be in use in the next few days. “We want our kids to be in one place, all of them will be here.”