Aine from Abashweki in pursuit of the ball.

Season 14 of the Ntare Lions League (NLL) has been nothing short of a roller coaster, delivering astonishing twists and turns that have left fans and enthusiasts alike in awe. From unexpected transformations on the pitch to surprising, lively celebrations to cap off the season, the league has become a breeding ground for shocks and surprises. Mc Tumu unravels the six most remarkable moments that defined the season.

1. Aine’s Goal-Scoring Journey. At the start of the season, Aine, formerly the steadfast goalkeeper for Abashweki, embarked on an unexpected transformation, transitioning to the role of a striker. Driven by a strong desire to prove himself, Aine’s evolution was truly remarkable. With each interaction with the ball, the photographer showcased a finesse that left even his opponents astonished. By the end of the season, Aine had emerged as a hero for his team, exemplified by his impressive record of 19 goals in 18 games, underscoring his unwavering determination and resilience. Beyond the goal tally, it was the narrative of his journey – from the confines of the goal box to the splendor of the frontline – that defined his season.

Romfield from Jabulani and Job King from Kashoro.

2.Roamfield’s Remarkable 6-Goal Feat. Despite not possessing the stature, or speed of some of his counterparts, Roamfield’s unparalleled passion for the game has set him apart. Every week, he diligently laced up his boots, always prepared to confront any challenge. However, it was during a particular gameweek when Jabulani faced off against the seasoned Kashoro that Roamfield’s name became indelibly inscribed in the history of Ntare Lions League football. Goal after goal, Roamfield elegantly navigated past Kashoro defenders(on lookers say it was Job’s wing) with precision, each shot hitting its mark. Wrapping up the season, the skipper clinched the title of the leading scorer with an impressive tally of 21 goals and 11 assists, serving as a beacon of inspiration for aspiring young players.

Picture of the Nturi team (Timo in sunglasses)

3.Nturi’s Noteworthy Performances. The unexpected ascent of Nturi positioned them as contenders for the Kigali final, ahead of the Sheikh led teams of Kabali, Kachanchali, Machando and Kalele (the defending champions). Nturi, once considered underdogs, emerged from the shadows of past defeats, propelled by unwavering determination and a fervent passion for the game. Guided by Captain Gilbert Abenaitwe with notable mentions to Zlatan or should we call him “Slapan”, Nturi consistently exceeded expectations in every match, eliciting awe from spectators. Another team embracing a “pure” approach centered on their homegrown talents, Abashweki, a four-time champion, underwent a noteworthy transformation. Executing haram-ball tactics and strategic plays, they moved across the pitch with grace, resembling poetry in motion.

Credit for the Family Day Out photo goes to Derrick’s Tecno

4.The Family Day Out. Throughout the game weeks, the tradition of team rest days gained popularity, with the likes of Nshera, Kabali and Omujuma treating themselves and their significant others to the best, akin to a vacation at the Kampala Quality Grounds. On a specific Sunday, Nturi decided to add a unique theme to their rest day: “Family Day Out.” As the day unfolded, Nturi Camp members, Abbott and Timo, appeared at the field with hopeful smiles and a touch of cologne. However, it soon became apparent that something had gone amiss. What was anticipated as a family day out had inadvertently transformed into a two man parade. Abbott and Timo found themselves awkwardly avoiding eye contact with fellow Lions as they realized they were victims of a widespread girlfriend-no-show scenario.

Photo of the Season – Season Xi

5.The Dilemma of the Overhead Kick. Without fail, come rain or shine, Aroriza would prepare for each Gameweek by lacing up his boots and adorning his lucky socks, adorned unsurprisingly with images of overhead kicks, before heading to the pitch. Recognized by his teammate Mage as “Air-Roriza” due to his inclination for soaring into the air in pursuit of a spectacular goal, Aroriza’s attempts at executing the perfect overhead kick were met with consistent challenges. Regardless of how many times he tried, the ball never quite met his foot in the ideal arc of an overhead kick. Occasionally, he would mistime his jump, resulting in what resembled a peculiar mid-air dance move. At other times, his swings were either too early or too late, sending the ball soaring into the stratosphere(Kafubs’ skipper territory) or rolling harmlessly along the ground. A former nominee and winner of the Photo of the Season(Season Xi) for his acrobatic skills, Air-Roriza notched an impressive 9 goals, securing a prominent position on the scoring charts.

End of season Vibes

6.The Last dance of NLL season 14 with live band: As we headed into the final gameweek which would as well become the end of season party. The soccer field underwent a vibrant transformation into a carnival of colors, adorned with banners from Guinness, Nation Media, and Rwanda Air at every turn. A stage was erected for live band performances, promising an evening filled with catchy tunes and spirited dance moves. With the sun setting, players from various teams gathered with their significant others, adding an extra touch of glamour to the festivities. The atmosphere buzzed with laughter and conversation as longstanding rivalries were set aside for the night, replaced by a sense of camaraderie and sportsmanship.

The band took center stage, inaugurating the festivities with an electrifying performance that had everyone on their feet. Amidst the music and revelry, Jet, the Beer plug, was abuzz with activity, offering a variety of drinks to quench the thirst of Lions and their companions. As the night progressed, inhibitions melted away, and the dance floor transformed into a whirlwind of spins and twirls. Even the typically reserved players like Kakyomya and Kagezi couldn’t resist joining in, showcasing their best moves with abandon. Unforgettable memories were created that will endure for a lifetime.

As I bring this article to a close, it’s essential to acknowledge that there may be additional events that slipped through the narrative, such as the halftime negotiations between Shimba and SC Kalele during the 12-0 game. As excitement mounts, attention is now squarely directed toward the highly anticipated grand finale, scheduled to take place on 9th March 2024 at the IPRC Stadium in Kigali, Rwanda.

NLL Publicity Desk