Usually, Christmas seasons in this, by then dry but usually Holy Town located on the eastern side of Arua Town would come with all the joy, happiness, excitement ……et al.
Most, if not all, first timers were left in awe due to the nature in which activities were held in preparation for the Birth of Christ.
From the sounds of Nason Nyitho’s (RIP) trumpet right next to the entrance to the Vestry of the old cathedral, to Rev. Stephen Gelenga and the ever green Emma Band rehearsing Christmas carols at his premises directly opposite the main entrance to the Arua Primary Teachers College (APTC), to The Late Bishop Ephraim Adrale seated at the balcony of his home holding meetings about raising funds for the construction of a new cathedral as we kick around the mighty “Odikia” (an almost round Ball made from banana fibres) at what is now the Bishop’s Gardens.
Brethren, we are not in Jerusalem or Mecca but just popping around the place which has the Holiest people below the sun, Mvara Dri. Summed up from geographically mapped zones of Kenya, Zambia, Central, Sudan and Zaire (became Congo Zone in 1997, after the Late Laurent Kabila downed Mobutu’s Government in Kinshasa).
As every activity went on, most evenings provided some of us with the opportunity to witness the finest Football League ever from that area, The Mvara Zonal League. Participation was guaranteed to persons who were known occupants in the respective zones only. Of course there were no licenses used, identification was by face only.
From 1980 to about 2005, You and i should, or MUST actually, agree that the Zonal League gave birth to some of the finest footballers Mvara has ever produced, if not Arua anyway.
During these tough times under the mercy of COVID-19, my mind decided to ring back to some of the best players the Mvara Zonal League has produced from the pre Museveni era to date and these range from Mike Letti to Samson Ceasor Okhuti, Eric Anyole(RIP), Ajule Jerry (RIP), Charles Letti, Jimmy Pariyo (RIP), Buzu Cliff, Allan Pariyo, Aritua Bonney(RIP), Mindrea Edward(RIP), Andama Goerge,…..et al. This therefore draws a fair conclusion about the significance of that competition as a sport, apart from the culture of togetherness, which seems fading these days, if it has not yet anyway.
From the start of the new millennium, the ever enthusiastic and attractive league started to get frozen under the guise of corruption, poor officiation, hiring of non-eligible players to participate and much more, which eventually chased away the loyal fans as well as the locals from supporting their own league. And there was an apparent death of the zonal league.
All these have not just come because we hold rights to our own thoughts, but because Manya Boys FC have regrouped and the old trend set seems to be getting back on the usual old track.
A transition knocked on the door and the zonal league took another shape and light finally started to shine from another angle.
One step was moved forward and then Two (2) backwards as the Result Slip after the transition indicated a positive but unsuccessful Big League position in the 2013/2014 season, unsuccessful in the sense that relegation to the 4th tier ensued because other factors apart from on pitch football were not to the benefit of the Manya.
The relegation hung over led to much anger, believe and faith about what can be so probable from that town in regard to the beautiful game of football.
Another decade knocks on the door and the MANYA is back in business.
This time, well assembled administratively as various departments are managed by dedicated, focused and professional Samaritans.
“The first thing we did was to get to the community and enlighten them about the resurrection of the zonal league”, the club PRO, Drabe Godfrey lamented to Westnile sports.
He continued, “That was followed by setting up of a reliable and trustworthy management being headed by The Bishop of Madi and Westnile Diocese as the Club Patron. A lot of locals including Boda Boda riders renewed their trust in the club and this led to another dawn”
Hosting home games at the revamped Arua Core PTC Grounds at Mvara, a young, hungry and overzealous Mvara Boys ply their trade in the third tier of the Ugandan football proper resting on the 3rd position in the Nyagak Group being separated by 3 points and another 2 points from Hotsprings Fc and Pakwach Super Eagles respectively.
All these have come on the back of a somehow successful Uganda Cup campaign from which they were ousted by a more experienced and well funded Kiboga Young Fc in the round of 32. Being the last Westnile side to have stood tall after the likes of Onduparaka FC, Paidha Black Angels FC, Doves All Stars FC and FHL FC got eliminated in earlier stages of the prestigious competition sponsored by Stanbic Bank.
Therefore doubting their abilities now is criminal because no MANYA side has ever made it to that level of any knock out competition in Uganda and coupled with the qualities of team captain Gabriel Matata, Godswill Osuta, Amir Muhammed, Brian Econi, Joram Oriyo, Enama Byron, Enzama Alfred, Sunday Edema, Fetea Andrew and others within their ranks, the sky now seems to be the limit for the Manya.
From the look of things, the determination for the Manya to move forward seems a minor issue, all that matters is the shear lack of motivation from all angels that the old Manya had.
For starters, Football has taken a new trend and it is now managed by authority wielding Boards, Technical Staff and of course the biggest part being played by “the only devil in the hand that this world has ever seen, that is, money.
All these put together sooner than later, the Manya must be capable of scratching grounds beyond the valleys of Dadau, swimming past Rivers Asa and “Jurudani” enroute to playing in the Uganda Premier League Two(2) seasons from now.