Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Stars Next Door Heroes of Uganda cricket

The Ugandan Cricket Legacy

Uganda V Kenya Nakivubo stadium 1954:Standing, from left: Erek Johnson, Atul Shah,W. Handley, Dilbagh Singh,
Abdul Qadir, Keith Boucher, Charlie De Souza, Sitting: E.H. Wilson, John Sequeira, John Wild (captain) Ramanchai
Patel, Ian McAam

By John Noronha

IT WAS often said that Uganda Goans played the role of “giant- killers” at the game of cricket in pre-expulsion Uganda. It is true that the Goans did not have the extensive numbers of players to select as had the British  Asians,  or  in  the  earlier  years,  the  players  with  English  County  Cricket  exposure that the Europeans could recruit. However make no mistake, the Uganda Goan cricket legacy is steeped in legend, excellence and sportsmanship that rival the best.

For the record, cricket was first played in Uganda around 1900 and in the next decade or so a few club teams sprang up including the Entebbe Goan Institute and the Kampala Goan Institute. It was a Goan family led by Gerald Sequeira     that donated the Lowis Cup in 1923 -- which gave rise to a club competition that lasted 50 years. In 1936 the donation of the Narandas Rajaram Shield led to the start of an annual communal tournament -- The Triangular -- that featured the Europeans, The British Asians (representing settlers  from  India  and  Pakistan) and the Goans. In 1949, the Africans led by Prince Maranda (brother  of  the Kabaka of Buganda) fielded a team to make the tournament a Quadrangular. Finally in 1965 the Muslims segmented away from the Asian team and we now had the Pentangular, which was contested till 1971.

In 1952, the first official Uganda representative side was selected and that saw the start of the annual inter-territorial  contests  between  Uganda,  Kenya,  Tanganyika and Zanzibar (post 1964 saw the merger of the later 2 into Tanzania). In 1967, neighbouring  Zambia  joined  the  competition  to  increase  the  excitement  and  level of competition. In between these annual 3 days matches, from 1956 to the expulsion (1972), a variety of test calibre teams from the UK, India and Pakistan  visited East Africa and engaged local and representative teams  --  providing  the locals with a taste of the highest level of world cricket. World Class cricket names     like Hanif Mohammed, Lance  Gibbs,  Basil  D’Oliveira,  Tom  Graveney,  Everton Weekes, Colin McDonald, Polly  Umrigar,  Asif  Iqbal,  Wallis  Mathias,  Mike  Smith  and Vinoo Mankad were among of those who thrilled the local crowds.

Against this backdrop then, the small but highly engaged Goan community created a great deal of excitement on the cricket field. The  first  contested  version of the Lowis Cup in 1923 saw the Asian Sports Association play  the Uganda Police team in  the  final.  Deoniz  DeSouza,  who  legend  has  it,  cycled 50 miles the previous day from Jinja to Kampala, led the ASA to a victory with        a swashbuckling unbeaten knock of 169 runs. Two years later, led by Gerald Sequeira, the Kampala Goan Institute won their 1st of 7 titles (the final one being in 1963). The Entebbe Goan Institute also won the trophy once.

The record of matches of the early years are limited, however the folklore emanating there from is significant. Led by the heroics of Deoniz De Souza and Gerald Sequeira, there was the powerful batting of Germano Gama, the superb cover drives of Euthrope Pinto, the dynamic leadership of Steven De Souza the artistry of Leo Gama and the clever bowling of Thomas DeSouza. This led to       the triumph in winning their 1st triangular tournament in 1938 (after the Asians and Europeans had won in 1936 and 1937 respectively). The ensuing war years caused a curtailing to sporting activity but the resumption of full-fledged play in 1944/45 saw the rivalry between the 3 teams intensify and led to a most exciting quality of competition that continued unabated until the Idi Amin expulsion order in 1972. The second half of the decade of the 40’s saw a period of dominance by the Goans who won in 1946, 1948 and 1949. The pre-war veterans on the team had been bolstered by the arrival of a new set of stars --- Michael Texeira, John Sequeira, Alcantro Lobo and Celly Dias came to the fore -- and the Goans were      a feared lot. The rest of the story is best told by highlighting some of the Stars  and unsung heroes and the events of their  contribution.

Michael Texeira: Texeira (or Texy as he  was called by  many)  was a pure  legend. His arrival on the scene in the mid 40’s immediately made the Goans a team to  be reckoned with. He was a devastating opening bowler, who on July 23rd 1950, achieved every bowlers dream of taking all 10 wickets in an innings demolishing the home team Kampala Sports club for 143 runs with figures of 10/44 in 23 overs. On a wicket that was giving limited assistance to the bowlers, he never allowed the batsman to settle and set the stage for a big win by the Kampala Goans. A few years earlier he had been instrumental in the Goans winning the Triangular in 1946 and 1948 (the later over the formidable Asian team where he, Thomas and Sequeira bundled the opposition out for 205 run in 2 innings). In 1949 Michael led the Kampala Goan Institute to victory in the Lowis Cup and   then led the Uganda Goans to victory in the 1st Quadrangular Tournament (the Africans having joined the fest).The formation of Uganda Cricket Association in 1952, led to the selection of the first Uganda National team. Michael Texeira at  the age of 34 was one of 2 Goans selected to the team that on august 22nd, 23rd and 24th played the 1st inter-territorial match against the powerful Kenya team led by Denis Dawson. This most modest of gentleman went on to play for Uganda until 1954 (although it should be point out that up-country work assignments impacted his availability). He was part of the Goans Quadrangular triumphs in 1954 (with significant bowling analyses against the Africans and Europeans) and again in 1956 over the Asians. It should also be noted that he was an outstanding hockey player at the club and national  level.

The son of the first Goan captain, Gerald Sequeira, this fine all-rounder was a  mainstay of the Goan team in the glory years of the late 40’s and early to mid-         50s. John could score runs all around the field and could lift the ball for sixers at       will in his heyday. He would also open the bowling, and combined with Texeira,       was part of an opening attack that was feared. He contributed significantly to the Triangular wins in 1948 and 1949 and was  selected  to  the  first  Uganda  national team in 1952. Perhaps  Sequeira’s  most  dominant  moment  was  on  November  29th 1952 in Jinja when he hammered 131  runs  against  the  powerful  European team  led  by  Col  Gordon.  John  followed  his  batting  heroics  with  3  wickets  that

thwarted Gordon’s team from winning their 3rd successive title. He went on to  be an integral part of the Goan quadrangular wins in 1954, 1956, 1960 and 1964. In the 1960 final against the Asians, John took 7/55 in the second innings to      seal the victory. This led to him being selected to captain Uganda in Sept 1960 against the touring Gujarat Cricket Club. This long serving and highly respected player was selected 8 times to represent his country between 1952 and 1960.

Celly  Dias: Celly broke on the cricket scene in 1948 and at age 18 was the babe           of the team that won the Triangular that year,  playing a crucial unbeaten innings        of 21 in that low scoring match. Within the next few years he became a dominant batsman who picked up runs in the most  unconventional  and  effortless  way.  In 1950 in the match that  Michael  Texeira  took  10  wickets,  the  Goans  went  in  to bat chasing a score  of  143  in  100  minutes.  Celly  opened  the  batting  and  took  the challenge head on scoring 107 runs in 80 minutes and seeing  his  team  to  victory. A year later in  1951,  opening  the  batting  for  the  United  Asians  against the Uganda Kobs, he pummeled the bowling for  115  runs  before  retiring.  For  some unexplainable reason he was not selected to the Uganda National team till  1960 when he “earned” his one and only Uganda ‘cap’ in a win over Tanganyika. Numerous times this talented sportsman bailed the Goans out  of  extremely  awkward situations. In the  1960  quadrangular  finals  against  the  Asians,  Celly  came to the wicket with his team at 106/6 and went on to score an unbeaten 87     and the took 3 wickets to lead the Goans to the Shield. In 1962 another tailender knock of 95 saw the Goans amass a total of 463 runs to achieve yet another impressive championship win over the Asians. He was also part of the 1964 quadrangular and the 1966 Pentangular wins by the  Goans.  Celly  also  was  a  difficult bowler to play against with his ability to mingle slow medium pace with delicate off spin bowling.  When  not  spending  his  time  in  cricket  “whites”  all  he did was win the 1953 Uganda tennis singles crown ( a feat his father had done in  1932) and was a top flight player for the Kampala Goan tennis team for a number       of  years,  winning  the  Uganda  doubles  crown too.

Edwin Fernandes: Another highly respected cricketer from the  colonial  period,  Edwin  was  a  very  dependable  and  cautious  early  middle  order  bat  who  went  on  to  captain  the  Goans  Quadrangular  team  in  the  mid  50’s  which  included       a big win over the Asians in  1956.  Edwin  earned  5  Uganda  “caps”  in  games  against Tanganyika and Kenya from 1953 to 1956. His memorable performances however would have had to be in the quadrangulars of 1952  and  1954.  In  the former he scored an 89 runs out of a total of 172 runs in the Goan second innings against the aforementioned European team led by  Col  Gordon    sealing  any  change the opposition had of winning the game by virtue of the second innings.         In the  1954  championship,  he  followed  a  knock  of  87  against  the  Africans  in  the first round with innings of 50 and 72 against the powerful European team to secure  the trophy.

Charlie D’Souza: Arguably the best all-rounder Uganda produced in that era, Charlie D’Souza was certainly the longest playing cricketer at the National level. Records to date have shown that he had represented Uganda 50 times and at    the time of the expulsion in Sept 1972, had been named yet again to the Uganda squad in preparation for the scheduled Inter-territorials.

Charlie was the son of Deoniz D’Souza, a legend in his own right. He broke into         the Goan Quadrangular team in 1952, while still at school. The following year he played a significant role in skittling the Asian team in the second innings for 115         by taking 6 wickets. A strong batting and bowling performance in the ensuing selection trial match led to his first Uganda “cap” in Dec 1953 at Entebbe against Tanganyika. Batting at the number 10 spot, he scored  34  quick  runs  (  second  highest ) and in very limited bowling got the all-important wicket of Ron Meredew     in the second innings as Uganda waltzed to their first inter-territorial win by  5 wickets. Thereafter be became a fixture on the Uganda team, very rarely missing        a game. Over the next 2 decades he played consistently against the East African countries as well as against visiting teams from  Pakistan,  India,  England  and  Zambia. While in the early years he earned his spot on the national team as an opening bowler, he was always a dangerous late  middle  order  bat  who  could  delight  a  crowd  with  his  attacking  play  and  thunderous  cover  drives.  Later  in  his career the batting became more penetrating and no bowling was  safe  when Charlie got set at the crease. All through his career he was the backbone of the Kampala Goan Institute team (captaining them to the elusive Lowis Cup club title       in 1963), as well as  the  Uganda  Goan  Quadrangular  and  Pentangular  teams.  He was in the teams that won the Narandas  Rajaram  Shield  in  1954,  1956,  1960,  1962, 1964, 1966 and 1971 (the last one contested before the Asian expulsion). Sprinkled therein was regular  representation  for  the  Buganda  Province  in  the  inter   provincial   Sazen Cup.

While impossible to detail all of the contribution by this tenured player, a number of significant highlight moments need  amplification.

1)  Oct 1956 – the finals of the Quadrangular between the British Asians and the Goans: The Goans score 154 led by a top score of 43 by Charlie. The strong     Asian team boasting internationals like Salaudin Khan, Premji Patel, Shashikant Patel and budding spin bowler Kishore Vasani, were bowled out for 147, with Charlie taking 4/48. Kishore caused great problems for the Goans in their second innings bundling them out for 130. Set to score only 135 to win the Asians were veritably “licking their chops” as they started the final morning of the match at 43/1. However ably supported by John Sequeira and Michael Texeira,  Charlie   had other ideas – his figures of 5/27 of 25 overs with 12 maidens, sent the Asians spiraling to a mere 92 runs a major 45 run win for the Goans.

2)  Sept 1957 – In an international match against Tanganyika played in Kampala, Charlie caused much pain for the opposition with both the bat and ball. After taking 8 wickets for 101 runs in the 2 Tanganyika innings, he came in at number 8 in the Uganda second innings and unleashed a torrid display of batting, scoring  50 runs in 30 minutes.

3)   Aug 1964 – In a match against the  touring  Pakistan  International  Airways team that included a number of prominent Pakistan test players, the visitors’ fast bowler Antao D’Souza had torn through the heart of the Uganda batting in the second innings, when Charlie came to the wicket at 37/6. What ensued was a batting spectacle with the ball being hammered to all corners of the field. Most memorable was a hit of the Pakistan spinner Afaq Hussein outside the walls of Lugogo Stadium onto Jinja road. Charlie’s knock of 52 was the only highlight for the home crowd as the tourists inflicted an innings  defeat!

4)   Jan 1965 – An inter-territorial match against Kenya led by Gurcharan Singh. Innings of 79 and 121 runs by Charlie took a near follow-on situation for Uganda and converted it into a chase for victory – which chase fizzled when our hero got out with a few minutes left in the game.

5)   Sept 1968 – The East African quadrangular championships held in Nairobi between Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Zambia. In the match against Kenya,  batting out of the number 9 spot, Charlie scored an unbeaten 115 runs leading Uganda to its highest score in an innings of 436. In an ensuing match against Zambia he had unbeaten knocks of 52 and 21. Together with some limited but most effective bowling, he garnered the best individual batting and bowling averages for the tournament and was named the Best All-Rounder by the East African  Standard Newspaper.

Charlie did have the honour of captaining Uganda in the inter territorials held in Uganda in 1970. Earlier on, he was chosen to represent East Africa against the MCC touring team. He also was a good hockey player and represented Uganda     in that sport in 1959 in addition to being on the Kampala Goan Institute team that won the M.R de Souza gold cup in 1957.

Peter De Souza: Peter De Souza learnt his cricket in Karachi, Pakistan before migrating to Uganda circa 1958. A very sound middle order bat, he also bowled slow leg breaks and googlies than could turn the fortune of a match. Unlike     most of the Goans he opted to play his club cricket for Jai Sports club which         at the time included a number of the Uganda Asians players. Jai had won the coveted Lowis Cup in 1956 under the captaincy of Premji Patel and the addition  of Peter was soon evident. In 1958 he was part of the Goan quadrangular team and by December 1959 he made his debut for the Uganda national team against

Kenya in Nairobi. The following year he made his mark with an unbeaten century for Buganda province in the Sazen Cup and was made captain of the Goan Quadrangular team, leading them to victory after 3 years in the doldrums. This  led to 5 Goans being selected to the Uganda team in 1960 (the highest ever) and in the ensuing match in Dar-es –Salaam , Uganda secured a convincing 6 wicket victory thanks to a fine bowling spell of 5/36 by Peter followed by an unbeaten  44 on the difficult Indian Gymkhana ground. The same year he was selected         to represent East Africa against the visiting Gujarat Cricket club and shortly thereafter chosen to captain Uganda – a role he discharged with distinction for the next 4 years.

The high point in Peter’s cricket career came in 1962 during the Pentangular   finals against the Asians. Powered by a massive innings of 172 (a new Uganda record at the time ) by schoolboy Pranjivan Davda, the Asians had  scored  358 runs in their 1stinnings. The Goans in reply started well but thereafter had a middle order collapse which saw half the team down for a mere 106. Peter took matters in his hand and after 3 partnerships ( with skipper Carlitho Mascarenhas, youngster Leslie Da costa and veteran Celly Dias) guided his team to victory with   a record total of 463 runs. Peter’s contribution was 164 runs. Peter went on to   be part of future Goan Quadrangular and Pentangular titles in 1964, 1966 and 1971. He continued in the Uganda national team and was chosen to represent East Africa against the MCC in 1963. He represented Uganda on 16 occasions  from 1959 to 1965.

Carlitho Mascarenhas: Tall and well-built, Carlitho Mascarenhas got into the Uganda Goan Quadrangular team in 1955 with a debut 44 runs against the Africans. The next year onwards he became a staple in the Kampala Goan Institute and Uganda Goan teams until his departure for Canada in 1967. In addition to being a hard hitting and adaptable middle order bat, he was an imposing pace bowler and was rewarded with his first “cap” for Uganda in Aug 1958 against the South African “non-European” team led by the famous Basil D’Oliveira. Batting    at number 11, Mascarenhas scored an unbeaten 21  that  included  a  massive sixer of the South African spinner, G. Langa. His next international match was against Tanganyika in Oct 1960, when his took 5 wickets, setting the stage for a Uganda victory. On the club cricket scene, Carlitho was a major contributor to the Kampala Goan Institute side at a time when they were the major nemesis to the Jinja Recreation Club (who ruled the roost for a good 7 years). He was a member of the Goan teams that won Quadrangular in 1956, 1960, 1962 (as captain), 1964 and the Pentangular in 1966. Perhaps his most disappointing match would have been the first Pentangular tournament in 1965, when as skipper of the Goan side he took 8/84 against the Asians in the final – alas only to see his team lose a     tight low scoring match because of 5 unnecessary run-outs in the two innings. Carlitho’s  final  swan  song  on  the  East  African  cricket  scene  was  in  the 1966

East African inter territorials in Kampala, where he got 6 wickets against Kenya and then batted a patient 34 runs while his batting partner amassed runs. This outstanding athlete was also a very good hockey left half, having represented Goans and the Uganda national team for a number of years.

Felix D’Mello  jnr: One of the sporting D’Mello brothers from Entebbe, Felix was   a mainstay for the Entebbe Goan institute team for many years. Being selected   to the Uganda Goan Squad in the late 50’s he was following in the footsteps         of his older brothers – Joseph and John- and very soon he was opening the  batting and pitching in with the bowling. Felix was a medium pace bowler who often resorted to the “bumper’ or “bouncer” to get a wicket. He made his debut for the national team in 1960 in Dar es Salaam where he opened the batting     with the great Noordin Virani, in a match that Uganda prevailed. Felix was an important member of the Goan quadrangular winning team in 1960 where his second innings unbeaten knock of 44, carried them  past  the  victory  line.  He went to be part of the championship winning teams in 1962, 1964, 1966, and 1971. Felix made it back to the Uganda national team for the East African Inter- territorials held in Nairobi in 1968.

Lawrence Fernandes: A superb all-rounder, Lawrence moved  back  to  Uganda from Mombasa, Kenya, where in 1960, he had already played for the ‘young Kenya Asians” team at the age of 15. His arrival in Uganda was an immediate boost        to the local cricket scene. Lawrence turned out to be a patient and technically sound opening batsmen, a spin bowler who had the occasional googly thrown      in with his leg breaks and the best gully fielder Uganda had seen. His first big     test came in Nov 1962 in the quadrangular 1st round against the defending champion Europeans. The Goan’s opening and middle order bats had collapsed   to 57/5, when Fernandes came in, batting an unbeaten, mature innings of 60    and together with veteran Celly Dias, anchored his team to victory. The following year he played his first of 26 matches for Uganda – against Tanganyika. Shortly thereafter he had the distinction of taking 5 wickets in one over in a club fixture. His big challenge came when selected to play the touring MCC team that included 9 English test players. Like all of the Uganda team, Lawrence acquitted himself modestly against the fierce bowling of Larter and Jeff Jones as well as the spin attack of Mortimore and Hobbs. However he distinguished himself by taking two spectacular catches to dismiss Peter Parfitt and Colin Milburn.

Lawrence was part of the Kampala Goan Institute team that won the 1963 Lowis Cup title and his spot on the Uganda team was ‘guaranteed” –  opening  the batting for the next 7 years with Noordin Virani (arguably Uganda’s most prolific pure batsman in the 1960’s). Similarly together with veteran Kishore Vasani, formed a dangerous spin attack for the  country.

Like Charlie DeSouza, Lawrence’s achievements  are  too  numerous  the  detail, but a number of standout moments must be  mentioned.

1)  In the East African Inter-territorials in 1966 held at Lugogo Stadium in Kampala, this amazing player, in a match against Kenya, opened the batting and stayed unbeaten to the end with a total of 160 runs. A very memorable part of the innings was a 118 run stand with Carlitho Mascarenhas (34) where Fernandes played a range of exquisite shots to all parts of the  field.

2)   In 1967, opening the batting for Uganda against the touring Warwickshire county side ( that included test players –Denis Amiss, Khalid Ibadulla,  Mike  Smith, Lance Gibbs and Tom Cartwright), Lawrence held his wicket while all around his were falling ( 4 ducks were recorded). Finally he found  a  terrific partner in schoolboy/wicketkeeper Bhasker Pandya and together they steered Uganda to a respectable score of 205 – Lawrence scored a patient 67, while Pandya hammered a torrid 66.

3)   During the 1970 Inter-territorials  in  Kampala,  in  a  match  between  Tanzania  and Uganda, the former need 250 runs in the second innings to win the match. Lawrence, who had figures of 2/29 in the 1st innings, went to work on the Makerere University ground and other than a century by Gajjar,  completely confounded the  rest of the Tanzanian batsmen. Alas time was the enemy and at close of play, the visitors were reeling at 199/8, but managed to stave  of  defeat.  Fernandes  had  taken 7/86 from 24 overs.

4)   Lawrence was part of 4 Quadrangular/Pentangular title wins by the Uganda Goans --- 1962, 1964, 1966 and 1971. In the final one he together with skipper Charlie and 16 year old Braz Dias were the top players in the tournament.

5)  Lawrence was selected to represent East Africa against the Nawab of Pataudi led Indian test team in 1967 and again in 1968 against a select “International       XI “. In 1972 when the 1st tour of England by an East African cricket team was undertaken, Lawrence Fernandes was one of 5 Ugandan players chosen for the  12 friendly match series.

At the time of the Asian expulsion in 1972, Lawrence Fernandes at age of 27, had already played for 9 continuous years for his country and had been named in August 1972 in the Uganda squad for the East African Inter-territorials that never transpired.

Lawrence  Dias:  Another  Lawrence  who  was  a  polished  opening  batsman   and made it to the Goan Quadrangular side as a schoolboy. Dias was a hard  hitting  bat  who  could  punish  any  type  of  bowling.  His  biggest  ‘block”  to the

national squad  was  the  presence  of  Lawrence  Fernandes  and  Noordin  Virani  who “hogged” the positions. Nevertheless he did break through in the 1970 Inter- territorials and rewarded the selectors with innings of 71 against Tanzania and 51 against Zambia. Dias played the following  year  against  the  touring  Hyderabad  Blues and was also in the aforementioned select squad for the 1972 East African Championship.

Aloysius Mathias: A multi-sport talent Al Mathias broke into the Goan Quadrangular squad in 1951 in the heyday of Texeira and Sequeira and quickly assumed the position of opening bat. A regular in the Uganda Goan team till  1964, he broke into the Uganda team in 1958 for a match against Tanzania. Hockey and tennis were just as important an undertaking for Mathias and he    had the distinction of being of national calibre at all 3 sports. A hard –working    full back, he represented Uganda number of times in hockey including in 1952 against the touring Pakistan Rovers and in 1959 at the first Rahim Jira inter- territorials in Kampala. He was also a proud member of the 1957 Kampala Goan Institute teams that won the elusive M.R de Souza gold cup. At any given point     in time in the 1960’s Aloysius was among the top 5 tennis players in Uganda and won the National doubles titles 3 times.

Edwin Fonseca: Another all-round sportsman, Edwin was from Mbale and went on to distinguish himself at cricket, hockey and tennis at Makerere University       in the mid-1960s. Fine batsmen with a  fierce  off-side  stroke  he  made  the  Goan quadrangular and Pentangular teams from time to time. In 1969 he was selected to the Uganda team that went to Zambia for the East & Central African championship.

It would be inappropriate to conclude this narrative  without  mentioning  the  number of other outstanding Goan cricketers from  Uganda  who  played  various  roles in the team successes and the pleasure provided to the fans. The 2 sets of D’Mello brothers from Entebbe – Felix snr, Victor and Marcus (probably the best  Goan fielder)  and  Joseph,  John  and  Joaquim  (brothers  of  already  mentioned  Felix jnr) were invaluable in their contributions. Leslie Da Costa was a key cog in        the 1962 Quadrangular win  and  may  have  made  national  colours  if  not  leaving for overseas studies. Francis Dantas  and  Lawrence  Barretto  safely  kept  wickets  and pounded some runs.  Claude  DeSouza  from  Entebbe  was  always  there  to  stem a  collapse  and  Mombasa  “recruit”  Franklyn  Pereira’s  innings  of  91  batting at number 10 in the 1960 triumph will never be forgotten. Mark Gracias and Alban Rattos  added  to  the  middle  order  batting punch.

There were others that have not been mentioned and they do have the writers apologies  and  sincere  thanks  ---  Thanks  for  the  memories  and  the  great times.

John was born in Uganda, his dad was in business and his mom was Principal of the Kampala Ithnasheri school. He grew up in Kampala and attended Makerere College, where he got to know a lot of the local Ugandans who later held good positions in society. Soon after his graduation, Idi Amin kicked us all out, so John was not committed to serve the terms of his bursary!

He joined the Royal Bank of Canada here and rose to be VP for mortgages for Properties in the Greater Toronto Area. He has recently retired. John was a keen follower of all sports and his memory is simply amazing! He remembers incidents, dates and scores that even we, as players in those matches, have “almost” forgotten!

John has been active in the Goan Community here for years and has been Vice- President and later President of the GOA Toronto. He still plays an active part and can be considered one of the leaders in our community. A man of strong faith, he and his wife Gladys (also Ugandan) undertake sessions for prenuptial couples.




John Noronha at university  graduation,  receiving  his  degree  from Ugandan despot the late Idi Amin whose one of many murderous sins was to expel virtually every Asian, at very short notice, from Uganda.

Entebbe, birthplace of Goan sport in Uganda

The evolution of Goan sports in Uganda

             By Armand Rodrigues

IN THE realm of Goans and sport in Uganda, the Entebbe Goan Institute emerges as the flagship. The club dates back to April 24, 1905. Almost all Goan civil servants in Uganda had their start in Entebbe -- which was then the seat of Government -- it is no accident that Goans sports made their debut at the EGI and are inextricably linked to this club.

The Kampala Goan Institute, winners of the Kampala, Entebbe and District titles: D. Pereira, Al Mathias, C. Dias, H. Dias, J. Pereira, Canute Mathias

History will show that sports started as follows: Tennis 1907; Soccer 1907; Badminton 1908; Field  hockey  1916;  Cricket  1917;  Volleyball  1952.  Carom  and Ping-pong were slotted in between.  The  club  floated  the  E.G.I.  Cup  for field hockey in 1922 for an annual competition amongst all sports clubs in the Protectorate. (This cup was the equivalent of the Gold Cup in Nairobi) The E.G.I won its own cup for the first time in 1938. By inference, there were superior teams that held them back till then. It is noteworthy that this cup became the catalyst for Uganda’s  Olympic  Hockey  Team.

Whether one was born a gifted athlete, whether one’s sporting prowess was inherited, or whether one was influenced by a pushy parent, are moot points. The bottom line is that Goans have a natural propensity  for sports. And, in Uganda, the E.G.I. could not have been a better nurturing ground. In their formative years, the seniors of today and many of their parents developed a healthy penchant for soccer,  field hockey and cricket’, while at school or  university.

Once they got into the workforce in Uganda they diversified into tennis, badminton, table-tennis   and   volleyball.    The   osmosis   transformed   them   into   all-rounders in sports. A significant number excelled in one or more  sport  and  reached  a  pinnacle when selected to be on the national squad. In the process, they brought singular honour to the  community  and  demonstrated  convincingly  that  despite  our comparatively small number, we could stand shoulder  to  shoulder  with  the best.

With the passage of time, it is far from certain the following list encompasses everybody  with  an  E.G.I  connection  who  played  representative  sports.

Cosme De Souza was honoured on several occasions to captain the Uganda Hockey team in international matches versus Kenya, Tanzania, India and Pakistan. Others who represented Uganda include Michael Teixeira, Polly Pereira, Josy Pereira, Ambrose Da Silva, Carlitho Mascarenhas, Willie Lobo, Felix Britto, Renato Rodrigues, Denis Pereira, Aloysius Mathias, Tony Pereira, Victor Pereira, Joe Lobo, Leslie Da Costa, Wilfred Rodrigues, Leslie D’Costa, Alec Rodrigues, Abu D’Souza, Osbert Remedios, Donat D’Souza and Roland  Colaco.

Zulema Collaco de Souza with the Kololians 7-a-side winning team in Kampala.

S.P. Dias was the first Goan to win the Uganda Protectorate Open Singles tennis title. Later, in 1952, his son Celly followed in his father’s footsteps and claimed  the title. Others who regularly played in the Kampala & Entebbe District League include Aloysius Mathias, Denis Pereira, Josy Pereira, John Sequeira, Armand Rodrigues, Felix D’Mello (Jnr.), Felix D’Mello (Snr.), John D’Mello, Reggie Dias, Claude DeSouza, Edwin Fernandes and Peter Fernandes. Peter also claimed the Uganda Singles Junior title. Aloysius Mathias and Denis Pereira won the Uganda Closed Tennis Championship and the  Entebbe  Open  Tennis  Championship  for two years. Al won the Entebbe Open Singles Titles in those two years.


Zulema De Souza (centre) with the Kololians seven-a-side winning team in Kampala

Zulema Collaco (nee De Souza) captained  Uganda  vs  Kenya  on  several  occasions.  Others  who represented Uganda included Flora Gomes,  Esmie  DeSouza,  Eurema  Colaco,   Ella Gomes, Helen D’Mello, and Delphine Francis.

Zulema Collaco arrived in (Uganda), East Africa in January 1961, having represented the Maharashtra Women’s Hockey Association (Poona - India). She captained the Maharashtra Provincial Team  and was instrumental in winning  the finals of the All India Women’s Hockey Trophy (1958). News media described Zulema as a speedy winger with her body swerves, delightful ball control, neat stick-work and delectable play at left wing. (Deccan Herald, Nagpur  Times,  Poona Daily News, Times of India)

Zulema, captained the Poona University Team, Winning the All India University Women’s Championship for three consecutive years. She was  awarded  the  University Gold Medal for bringing great honour and for her  contribution  to  the Poona  University.

When she arrived in Uganda, she was the first woman hockey umpire, having passed an examination set by the Association for The Training of Umpires.

With her arrival in Uganda, East  Africa,  she  taught  High  School  at  Kololo Secondary School in Kampala, where  she  coached  and  formed  the  Kololian women’s hockey team. The team comprised of young students. Within a year, her team participated in the local women’s tournaments, defeating  practically  every other team in Uganda. Many of her players were selected  to  play  for  Uganda,  which in turn defeated the Kenya women’s team.

When leaving for Canada in 1971, Zulema Collaco de Souza, was presented a  Gold Medal by the Board of Governors of Kololo Secondary School in appreciation for her dedication, and contribution to the school. In Canada she represented the Ontario Women’s Hockey Team on one occasion.

The Kololians as they were later named, played in numerous competitions in other countries, such as India, Germany, Ceylon (Sri Lanka), United Arab Republic and Kenya.

Some of the teams that she played against were India, Japan, Korea, China, Wanderers from England, and Kenya. Unfortunately, since there were no Women’s Olympics at that time many women were very unfortunate in not participating in the Olympics.

Please share this and would appreciate any help with missing names!

Kampala, Entebbe and District tennis titles: D. 


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