Dozen of Gulu Youth Soccer teams compete for the Christmas cup

Patiko girls (green jerseys) playing against Palaro girls at Patiko Primary School playground. Photo/David Okema

Gulu, UG: A total of 24 football teams, comprising 12 male and 12 female clubs, are now battling it out with each other in a weeklong sports tournament in Gulu district to compete for the annual Christmas Cup 2023.

The teams are drawn from the eleven sub-counties and one town council of Gulu district. Each subcounty generated a male and a female team. The games are being sponsored by the area member of parliament for Aswa County, Simon Peter Wokorach.

According to Wokorach, the yearly sports event is to encourage and promote young people to embrace sports, nurture their talent, and keep them busy from entering into unwanted acts such as drug abuse and alcoholism, among others.

Aswa Member of Parliament, Simon Peter Wokorach (white shirt) inspecting participants.

“I want the parents to allow the girls to participate and pick interest in sport because it can be a turning point for their future because some girls drop out of school for reasons beyond their parent’s control, and this sporting event may become a turning point for better opportunities because we have scouts here searching for talented players,” says Wokorach.

The gala, which started on Sunday, December 17th, will end on Friday, December 22nd, at Awach town council. The game attracted hundreds of sports lovers and players, both teenage and young adults, male and female, who have converged in different playgrounds across Gulu district, including Patiko Primary School, Lukodi Primary School, and Paicho Primary School.

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Wokorach said they are working with the Gulu District Football Association to provide refereeing and supervise the gala to ensure that they deliver, strengthen, build capacity, identify talent, and provide strategic support to more vulnerable youth to make a shift in life.

The regional police commander for Aswa West, SSP Gertrude Timaya, lauds MP Wokorach for the good annual initiative, which she argues is backing up the police effort to curb crime among youths during this school break and festivity.

“By being here, many of you are kept away from criminal activities such as domestic violence, defilement, drinking, fighting, and engaging in unwanted sexual activity that could be caused by being idle,” SSP Timaya said.

Fans watching the game between Palaro Subcounty Versace Patiko subcounty.

She advises the girls. “It is the festive season; you must keep away from anything that can destroy your future, especially unwanted pregnancy, being busy helping parents, and participating in sporting activities,” she emphasised.

Ouma Denis, one of the strikers for the Patiko sub-county male football team, who is also participating in the tournament expressed worrying concern about how the young people who have come back for school holidays are entering into alcoholism and drug abuse. Ouma said recently that he has noticed that many young people crowd the trading center in the morning and evening to drink and gamble.

He, however, thanked the sponsor for the annual event that has helped to detach young people from engaging in unproductive social gatherings.

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Besides talent search and promotion of physical fitness, the sports gala also aims to prevent idleness among teenagers and young adults who have just returned home from school for holidays with their families from engaging in activities that could lead to criminality, drug abuse, and unhealthy sexual practices.

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