Ugandan Stoke City fan sets up football team to honour the Potters

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Most Premier League teams can boast fans across the world – but surely few are as devoted as Stoke City fanatic Bryson Michael Mugote?

The 18-year-old Ugandan has set up his own football team, Stoke Infants FC, to showcase his support for the Potters.

Bryson, a cashier in the capital city Kampala, first heard of the Potters when he was five.

Ugandan Bryson Mykol Mugote, founder of Stoke Infants FC

Bryson Mugote

He said: “In 2002, two Englishmen came to our village.

“They were such friendly guys and one day I spoke to one of them, called Johnson.

“We talked a lot and he told me they came from a place called Stoke-on-Trent in Britain and supported a club called Stoke City.”

Bryson didn’t know much about the team until six years later when the Potters were promoted to the Premier League.

He said: “When the Potters were promoted, I was left with no option other than supporting Stoke City FC!”

Better known teams, such as Arsenal and Manchester United, are more popular in Uganda and Bryson has sometimes had trouble keeping up with the latest action from the Britannia Stadium.

He said: “In the 2008-2009 season, I struggled to watch a game live on TV as I didn’t have the money to get into video halls.

“I could listen to commentators via local radios – sadly Stoke was, and still is, taken as a small team here.

“Only games involving teams such as Chelsea and Liverpool were given much more time and attention.”

Bryson said the situation has improved, although he conceded many people still thought it was odd he supported Stoke.

He said: “I watch Stoke matches in video halls. So far I’ve watched three live games this season.

“I watched the opening game against Liverpool, West Brom and one of Arsenal. I always go to video hall to watch them. The others I watched highlights.”

Bryson’s love for the Potters runs in 2011 he set up Stoke Infants Football Club along with his school friend David Isabirye.

He said picking a name for the team had not been easy due to David’s support for another English side.

Bryson said: “David asked me which name we should give the team.

“We suggested many teams and among them Stoke Infants FC came up number one.

“But this was after a big struggle as David was suggesting a different name in favour of ‘The Red Devils of Manchester’ as he was a staunch supporter of Man United.”

Like the Potters themselves, fortune has not always smiled on Stoke Infants FC.

Ugandan sets up Stoke Infants FC

Stoke Infants FC training

In their first tournament they were beaten 2-0 in the semi finals and lost 2-1 in the final the following year.

The team took a brief hiatus while Bryson finished school, but after he started working, the team took to the pitch once again.

He said: “I organised players in Nsambya village and registered in a regional tournament.

“We did not manage to get out of the group stage after we failed to honour the last game due to financial setbacks as I failed to raise money to transport the team for the last group match.”

The team then took part in 2014 St Patrick’s Christmas Cup and ended third in group D, but Bryson has plans for the team’s future.

He said: “In April this year, I met Coach Eric Ndifuna whom I narrated the idea of making this team strong.

“He agreed to coach the boys with an aim of registering the team in the 2nd division league.

“Coach Eric and I are having the idea of playing the second division early next year if at all we raise the money of catering for the team.”

The team currently trains everyday and plays friendly matches, winning an away game against Atland-Katale 3-1 in mid-August.

Despite losing 4-1 to the Police Football Club on August 28, Bryson is optimistic his team will be ready for their second division debut.

He said: “We want to keep playing friendly games until we get set for our first game in the second division.”

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