WANKULUKUKU – Bright Stars reached their first ever Uganda Cup final on Thursday afternoon.
The Mwerere based side overcame Express FC 3-2 on penalties after a pulsating 180 minutes of football that ended in an aggregate stalemate of 2-2.
In the second leg, the two sides drew 1-1 at Wankuluku, an identical result to that in the first leg in Mwerere.
Express Captain John Revita put the hosts ahead, converting a free kick from 30 yards after Brian Umony was fouled.
Ten minutes to the end of the game, substitute James Angu rose highest to node home the equalizer which saw the scores level at 1-1 after 90 minutes.
In the shootout, Express missed three penalties with Michael Birungi, Davis Mayanja and Sadiq Ssekyembe all missing their spots. Only John Revita and Disan Galiwango convert their kicks.
With Bright Stars having missed only two of their first four kicks, up stepped captain Nelson Ssenkatuka who calmly slotted in the winner to see his side reach a first ever major final.
Moments after scoring the winning penalty, Ssenkatuka was quick to express his joy.
“It feels great to lead Bright Stars to their first ever Uganda Cup final, noted Ssenkatuka after the game.
“It was also our first ever semi-final and we played very well to reach out first final.
“We have worked hard and God has helped us and in the end, we have managed to do it.
About beating the record champions-Express to reach the final and scoring the winning penalty, Ssenkatuka had this to say;
“Which ever team it was, our goal was about reaching the final.
“It doesn’t matter whether i scored the winning penalty or not. We did it as a team, had to win this semi final and thanks to God, we did.
Bright Stars will now face Big League Proline FC in the final.
Like the Stars, Proline who defeated Kyetume 4-3 on penalties last Sunday, have also never played in the final.
Inspite of the fact that Proline is a second tier side, Ssenkatuka believes they will give them (Proline) the respect they deserve and not take them (Proline) for granted.
“We shouldn’t undermine them because they have eliminated several big teams like Vipers and Onduparaka on their way to the final and they are doing well in the Big League, noted the former KCCA FC and Proline striker.
“They are headed to the top tier and i expect a good contest.
Bright Stars are currently enjoying their best season as they managed 41 points in the League, their most since promotion to the top tier in 2012.
Asked whether he thinks the team is going through their best ever season, Ssenkatuka was quick to agree.
“This is our best season as we have achieved our best ever points tally in the season and now we are into the final of the Uganda Cup.
“All in all, this is indeed our best ever season and we will be hoping to make it even better by winning the cup.
The final of the Uganda Cup will be played on the 25th of May at the Masaka Recreational Grounds.
Express and Vipers are the record winners of the competition, having won it 10 times each.
Last season’s winners KCCA FC were eliminated at the round of 16 by Tooro FC.