Marcus Francis D’Mello recalls his sports days in Entebbe, Uganda.
I was born in Uganda and after my higher education in India I came back to live in Entebbe. I joined the Ugandan Government as a civil servant and worked at the Ministry of Health for nearly 8 years, the Office of the President at State House in Entebbe for nearly three years and then moved to the Ministry of Public Service and Cabinet Affairs in the Pensions Office for about 4 years before leaving Uganda in 1972 after Asians were expelled under Amin’s regime.
While I worked at the Ministry of Health (Medical Stores) I played football for the office team which was the best team in Entebbe for many years. I was also member of our club, the Entebbe Goan Institute, where I played cricket, hockey, football, volleyball, table tennis and darts. I was most of the time captain of football, badminton and vice-captain for cricket and volleyball and was also sports secretary. I also played cricket, football and hockey for the Entebbe European Club for a number of years, where they made me Honorary Member of the club in 1964. I was elected in recognition of the many occasions on which I assisted the club on the sports field.
For our club, the Entebbe Goan Institute (after independence the name changed to the Entebbe Institute), I played the above mentioned games almost every day and on Saturdays we had a match either in hockey, football or cricket with other clubs from Uganda. On Sundays we played league cricket and at times had to travel to Kampala, Jinja and Mbale. The same also applied in hockey and football. On two occasions I won the sportsman of the year award and was runner-up three times for our club. At a later stage our club in Entebbe could not make up a decent team in cricket and so I became a member of the Kampala Goan Institute and played for a number of years. Before and also during this time I was selected many times to play for the Uganda Goans in cricket, where there was a competition every year between Europeans, Asians, Muslims and late on the African eleven. We the Goans had to select the best 15 from the two clubs, the Entebbe Goan Institute and Kampala Goan Institute. We won this trophy most of the time and were referred to as the “Giant Killers” by the Governor of Uganda during presentation time. After independence in Oct 1962 all clubs changed their names omitting the origin of the people of the clubs, e.g. the Kampala Goan Institute to the Kampala Institute.
I was always involved in sports and whenever a big game either in football, cricket or hockey took place, I never missed the opportunity to watch the games, particularly when Uganda was playing cricket with outside teams from Kenya, Tanzania and also when teams came from overseas to play either cricket, football, hockey and tennis. Every year there used to be the Annual Football competition between Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania and Zanzibar called the East African Championship (before Independence in these countries it was called the Gossage Cup Tournament in football in East Africa). This was a great competition and held annually in different places. We always went to watch it when held in Kampala and supported the Uganda team which won most of the time.
The main games of interest for Ugandans, Kenyans and Tanzanians were football and athletics as games such as cricket, hockey and tennis were expensive to play. But after Independence they took up hockey, tennis with very few in cricket. Many of them were very gifted and talented footballers. But few owned or ran a club. If they had access to more resources at that time many would have made a great name for themselves and their country. Both Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania produced good athletes and boxers.
When I was in Kisubi College there were 2 fantastic footballers there, Temaligire and Kalibala, who were real wizards in the forward line for the school and also for Uganda. Left outer and left inner, who really were outstanding and the crowd used to go mad watching their dribbling and passing and they scored fantastic goals for Uganda in the Gossage Cup. For Kenya, it was Kadinga and he was like Stanley Mathews, a right outer.
When I came to the UK in Nov 1972 I continued to play cricket and badminton and even when I broke my middle finger in cricket, I carried on playing badminton in the Barnet and Middlesex league but eventually gave up sports after a knee injury. As a sports fanatic I still watch all games on TV and support Liverpool football club since I came to the UK.
Interview By Israel Saria. [email protected]