It is exactly a month now since Onduparaka FC confirmed promotion to the Uganda Premier League for the first time in their short but preeminent history.
Hundreds of fans stormed the streets of Arua in a spontaneous rapture of overwhelming joy after beating Lira’s Sporting United 3-0 at the Green Light stadium on 14th May to secure promotion to the top tier league.
Onduparaka’s rise from competing in non league football to now dining with the country’s big boys in a space of six years is a story that has captured the attention of many football fans across the country.
Founded in late October 2011 by a group of students who had just completed university, Onduparaka’s success in the just concluded season has not been a one-season journey.
As earlier noted, the club was formed by a group of University graduates headed by Benjamin Nakun, Joe Erema and Anthony Atepi (now the Chairperson, team manager and CEO at the club respectively) whose major aim was to occupy themselves after school and back then, they used to compete in non league football just for pleasure.
Little known to them was Onduparaka would turn out to be a big thing in the district and the entire West Nile Region as it attracted young local talent.
The now administrators at the club were the players at the time of its formation, and what started as a village team, competing in village tournaments grew into a massive entity and the talk of the town.
Initially, the club didn’t have a name but as time went on, the name Onduparaka was adopted. Onduparaka literally meaning ‘Sorghum stalks’ was taken from a village in Arua- Onduparaka, located a few miles away from Arua town and it was a unanimous decision by the members.
They had been using a poor ground for their games as is the case for most teams in Uganda but after years of planning, the current home ground to the club was renovated in 2013 and was named Green Light stadium.
With the club playing top flight football next season, the construction of the perimeter fence and the dressing room awaits in a few weeks.
Since it’s formation in 2011, the ‘Caterpillars’ as famously known by the locals, have played in every division recognized by Uganda’s football governing body, FUFA.
And one interesting fact is that from the fifth division to now the Premier League, Onduparaka have always gained promotion at their first attempt and have always made it look easy.
One outstanding achievement though that will go down the history books is attaining promotion to the Uganda Premier League — becoming the first team to represent West Nile in many years.
One can easily forget that just six years ago, Onduparaka were a team competing in the fifth division. Such has been the free flowing success the fans have witnessed.
For a club that doesn’t have any source of funding and only depend on their club officials and recently gate collections, it has been an extraordinary rise to the top and for the club faithful, a blissful journey that started as a fairy tale.
From Alex Gasper Adriko and Joshua Nicho Matua the pioneers of the club to youngster Shaban Muhammad who was unearthed at the age of 9,Wahab Gaddafi, Gadinho Gaddafi the recently acquired Arsenal, the club is blessed with virtuoso individuals whose determination and togetherness has put the club to the heights.
On Sunday when Onduparaka thumped Entebbe FC 4-0 in the return leg of the Uganda Cup semi finals, they became the first team from West Nile to reach the finals of Uganda Cup.
With the possibility of them lifting the trophy on Saturday, June 18 at Nakivubo stadium, more history could be made.
Benjamin Nakun (Chairperson)
Anthony Atepi (CEO)
Bernard Atiku and Caleb Alaka (Patrons)
Joe Erema (Team Manager)
Allan Kabonge (Head coach)
Adam Namatia (Assistant Coach)