With the sounding pace they have set out with now in the country, you can’t believe that they are making only two years in the field of football talent development today.
The Lion Sports Academy, situated in Ntungamo, Western Uganda, are celebrating their two-year anniversary today, Tuesday 5th, May 2020, after having done terrific work in developing and tapping football talent, and thus changing the lives of the talented boys in the area with in the shortest time possible.
It is upon this that the footballing fraternity in Uganda wishes a happy birthday to the Lion Sports Academy, undoubtedly the most active football academy in Western Uganda.
“I remember when we started on 5th May 2018, I saw everything coming to reality from the first whistle, with only 20 pioneer players reporting for registration on day one,” The Lion Sports Academy founder and CEO, Ronald Alonso Nuwasiima, noted.
It took The Lions Sports Academy only two months after it’s start to become runners-up to Kigezi Select FC in the Regional Airtel Rising Stars U17 tournament that was held in Bushenyi main stadium..
This is what rallied the surrounding community, football players, and management to bring the necessary support, and this built the confidence to continue the project.
According to Ronald Alonso, he could not sleep so that his dream could come true.
Alonso says that he started the dream move for an academy when he was still playing for Ntoda FC at the Regional League level, before officially resigning from playing soccer an early age of 27.
The early retirement, as per Alonso, came after starting the academy project, as he harbored too much passion of it and thus wanted to give it more time and improve it. The main target, right from the start, was to change lives of the youth in the community through using a soccer ball.
After only seven months, The Lion Sports Academy, for the first time, travelled about 150kms to Ibanda and became the Champions of the U14 Soccer Impact Tournament that was hosted by Mr Douglas Smith in December 2018.
This was one huge goal achieved by the academy, as most of the boys got bursaries, with even one player by the names of Kaharaba Issa Male going to Egypt under Mega Marketing Company for Soccer players agency after the tournament.
FUFA Youth Development Manager, Mr Ali Mwebe, through Kiruhura district FUFA delegate, Mr Steven Kacumu, appreciated the hard work being put in by The Lions Sports Academy in upping the game of football, and sent them five (5) good size playing balls on returning from Ibanda, a token that inspired the whole project.
Right from the start, credit goes to the young, passionate CEO (Mr Alonso), who struggled, lobbied for support, and spent sleepless nights thinking wide for The Lions Sports Academy to keep on growing, before other people and supportive parties of course came on board.
Thanks go to the current active executive committee that came on board to help Mr Ronald Alonso, working around the clock to see that this project keeps on shining, even with the short time they have been in existence.
Current Executive Members:
1. Mr Ronald Alonso Nuwasiima – CEO/Founder.
2. Mr Abireebe Assy – Chairperson.
3. Mr Ankwatsa Philip – Vice Chairperson.
4. Mr Arinaitwe Emmanuel – PRO.
5. Mr Muhumuza Brian Flamingo – General Secretary.
6. Mr Sande Hamudani – Advisor.
7. Mrs Jonah Bayanda “Maama Isaac” – Parents’ Chairperson.
8. Mr Tumwebaze Emmanuel – Treasurer.
9. Mrs Loyce Matsiko – Parents’ Coordinator.
10. Mr Twesiime Felix Baker – Ambassador/Executive Member.
11. Mr Kanyesigye Collins – Lawyer.
12. Mr Kakama Odongo Tabaro – Assistant PRO.
13. Mrs Kyarisiima Isabel – Marketing Director.
The Lion Sports Academy was in the spotlight last year, as they hosted the U14 Talent Soccer Tournament, whose Guest of Honor was the FUFA President, Engineer Moses Magogo.
The tournament, that was hosted at Kyamate Stadium in Ntungamo, saw more than thirty (30) teams turning up, which created opportunities for talent exposure from Western Uganda.
Blessings on this day also go to FUFA Commications Manager, Mr Ahmed Marsha Hussein, who represented the FUFA President at the tournament, when the latter got an abrupt CAF excecutive call at the same time of the tournament.
The football project kept rolling on at good speed, as The Lions Sports Academy got to travel over 480kms to Kampala this year for the 9th Edition of the Entebbe Soccer Camp Tournament.
What a performance it was for the Western based side, The Lions Sports Academy, as the U9 reached side reached the quarterfinals, the U13 side ended up as the runners-up, and the U15 side were also runners-up.
Coming to the Kampala Region for the first time and putting in such an outstanding performance was a huge credit and success in their journey.
Amidst their struggle to become what they are now, The Lions Sports Academy have, along the way, gotten partnerships that have managed to keep them running in some of the areas.
The leading and most hard working party is undoubtedly “Digtech Solutions Hub”, a Branding, Photography, and Videography company located in Mbarara, that has promoted players, the community and the project with the quality videos, photos and marketing, and all credit thus goes to the Director Digtech Solutions Hub, Mr Twesiime Felix Baker.
Other partners that have come along with The Lions Sports Academy are Owino.net, who are doing excellent work for the project. They are a supply chain network that offered the academy well defined website services that are underway, which is making the academy special from other local projects.
However, The Lion Sports Academy, while talking to the CEO, has met many challenges, just like any project in its infant stages, that have somehow delayed it’s growth;
1. They feel they deserve more and better training equipment for the kids, as every holiday, they get more kids. They still depend on donations and parents’ contributions, which have failed to sustain their demands.
2. Transport means have been a big blow to them, and they had started planning the Coaster Bus fundraising campaign before COVID-19 pandemic jeopardized everything to stop all the preparations.
With the work the academy has done so far through struggling, Mr Ronald Alonso asserts that when a sponsor comes on board, they will be the best in the East African Region, as their Mission 2028 reads.
Achievements outside football:
1. Over 60 kids from The Lion Sports Academy are getting free education bursaries or services at different levels of education, all due to their talents and good performance in class.
2. With all the training programs, tournaments and organisations held in Ntungamo, business people around the community have benefited a lot than when this project was not in place. The Lions Sports Academy have hosted more than 1500 people coming to watch their games during holidays and tournaments.
3. Kids’ awareness and activeness has improved, as they come closer to other kids in different areas like camping, and thus sharing of knowledge has been witnessed by the parents.
4. The Lion Sports Academy, having most of its beneficiaries as youth, has reduced and cordoned the fast rising vices of gambling, drug abuse, and idleness of the young boys around Ntungamo town, as this project engages these kids boys during holidays in tight training programs.
One can reach out to The Lions Sports Academy via the following avenues:
Facebook: The Lion Sports Academy Ntungamo