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Angelo, Police eye maiden Uganda Cup

Coach Angelo Lonyesi (right) has chance to win his maiden Uganda Cup trophy with Police FC

Coach Angelo Lonyesi (right) has chance to win his maiden Uganda Cup trophy with Police FC

Emotions have been running high for Police FC lately. And maybe. A little too high with varying proportions.

A fortnight ago, they missed out on an opportunity to secure automatic promotion to the StarTimes Uganda Premier League (SUPL), when NEC FC edged them for the third and final qualification slot. This came a year after they were relegated to the Fufa Big League.

Yet, despite the disappointment of failing to return to the top-flight, Police FC were able to muster energy and travel to West Nile, where they ejected Adjumani Town Council FC from the Stanbic Uganda Cup on away goals rule, following a 2-2 aggregate scoreline after two legs.

The Cops will now play in the Stanbic Uganda Cup final for the second time in their history. This will be an opportunity to represent Uganda in the Caf Confederation Cup if coach Angelo Lonyesi’s team were to win the final at the Akii-Bua stadium in Lira this Saturday, June 3.

However, for coach Lonyesi, this is a chance for him to emerge from the backwaters of Ugandan football. He has dwelled there for long, still chasing due recognition. Born August 28 in 1968, and raised in Naguru, one of the suburbs of Kampala, winning the Uganda Cup would be a fitting early birthday gift for Lonyesi.

And he is looking forward to the final in earnest: “Our main focus coming into this season, was to return Police FC to the SUPL. But we came short, and intend to try again next season. Now, we want to win the Uganda Cup. It will be a great achievement for Police, to win its first Cup.”

The first time Police were in the Uganda Cup final, was back in 2003 under the late Paul Hasule. Unfortunately, a David Obua- inspired Express FC beat Police 3-1 in the final.

Lonyesi will hope history does not repeat itself. They are upbeat and confident; a feeling which should make them a difficult opponent. It has been a fairytale run for Police under Lonyesi in the Uganda Cup.

It has included eliminating defending champions, Bul FC 2-1 in the quarters. It all started with a trip to Soroti, where Police nicked Aputoon FC 1-0 in the round-of-64. This was followed by a round of 32 win over Pajule Lions, 1-0. Ndejje University fell 0-2 at the round of 16, before Bul.

Adjumani Town Council has proved to be the latest victim. Daniel Muwanguzi, the younger brother to former Cranes and SC Villa defender Timothy Batabaire, played under Lonyensi at Police between 2011 and 2015.

He said: “One good thing about Lonyesi, is that he knows how to motivate his players. But at the same time, he quickly recognizes a player’s strengths and never complicates matters for players by trying to be too clever. That gives him the edge on how to study opponents and nullify them,"


By and large, because of Lonyensi's lowly background, he is a simple person. He is not a suits man. Perhaps that is what makes him approachable for players, according to Livingstone Rajan, the Police FC head of technical. Lonyesi started coaching while he was still a footballer in his 20s back at Nsambya FC, 1985, and at Dairy FC (1990-1995).

Having been coached as a teenager by the late Phillip Omondi at KCC FC in the early 1980s, Lonyesi grew up a KCC fan. Yet, he still hurts that his team Dairy lost the Uganda Cup final to KCC 1-2 in 1992 at Nakivubo stadium.

As a player, Lonyesi never got his hands on the big domestic trophies, even though in 2003, he guided Ggaba United to Premier League promotion.

Coaching has always been Lonyensi’s passion. By 1996, he led his young Naguru Avis side to the quarterfinals of the Uganda Cup only to be ejected by SC Villa. In this team, he nurtured the likes of Ronald Katsigazi, Shaka Okello and Robert Okello, all of whom registered Cranes caps.

Yet, up until now, Lonyesi’s fondest moment remains the Cecafa Club championship he helped Police win in Tanzania back in 2006. He was Sam Timbe’s assistant.

As Lonyesi and Police await Vipers SC or Bright Stars in the final, they are inspired by the fact that in 2019, a Big League side, Proline FC, won the Uganda Cup. The other advantage Police may have, is that their direct game may be more suited to the Akii-Bua ground.

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