There is a general consensus that Onduparaka played a huge role in uplifting the hype and pomp during their maiden season in the Azam Uganda Premier League last year. The Arua-based side went on to stun many and finished in a respectable fifth place out of 16 clubs. The season had Muhammad Shaban net 13 goals in the process, finishing second on the scoring charts and had also claimed the 2016 Fufa MVP Award.
Having surpassed the expectations including relegation survivals, Betway renewed their partnership with the Caterpillars, thereby announcing a new sponsorship package of Shs600m ahead of the new season that kicks-off on Tuesday. “Betway is happy to announce that we have achieved most of our targets,” the brand’s country manager Anton Opperman said during a press conference held at Hotel Africana on Monday. “Onduparaka has the biggest fan base and we are happy to have brought back the passion to football. This is a trigger to the revamped partnership of Shs600m we are launching for the 2017/18 season,” Opperman said.
The journey with the two parties started last year, with Shs180m and now the figure has been multiplied six times. “We are glad that both brands have grown since the announcement of our partnership,” club patron Bernard Atiku said. “It is about the numbers,” the Ayivu County MP said of the main reason behind Betway’s financial shot in the arm. "If you go to Mbarara, Jinja or anywhere we go to play, Onduparaka is now a household brand and we thank our fans,” noted Atiku while reminding the audience that they won the Fans of the Year honour at the UPL Awards. The package will look at paying the salaries of the players, kit and transport to and fro Arua during the season. “Our plan is to see Onduparaka do better with this package. There is even more set should the team win games away from home.” Betway PRO Adelle Agaba said.
Last season, Onduparaka beat top sides KCCA, Express, SC Villa and Vipers at the Betway Green Light Stadium in Arua and alongside Villa, both finished the season unbeaten at home. But coach Livingstone Mbabazi’s side struggled to replicate the form away. Of the 45 points collected last season, Onduparaka had 11 wins, eight of those in front of their green faithful. Away from home, they managed just three victories. In the Uganda Cup, the 2016 finalists were beaten 2-1 by Sadolin Paints at the quarterfinal stage.
Betway also sponsors Kobs (rugby), Power (basketball), UPDF (boxing) and the Senior Pool League properties in Uganda. Onduparaka, who open their season in Arua against Proline, is the second club sponsored by Betway in Africa after Ashanti Gold in the Ghana Premier League. The online betting company is also the kit sponsor for Premier League club West Ham United.
Founded: October, 2011
Patron: Bernard Atiku
Home ground: Betway Green Light Stadium
Coach: Livingstone Mbabazi
2016-17 Sponsorship: Shs180m
2017-18 Sponsorship: Shs600m
This writer is a scribe with Daily Monitor Newspaper and, also a sports presenter with NBS Television and Radio One FM 90 in Kampala. Follow him on Twitter: @AllanDarren and his Facebook Page: Darren Allan Kyeyune