He is a defender in the mould of former Uganda Cranes skipper Ibrahim Ssekagya. A calm and composed central defender, Henry Kalungi is currently one of the players in the current national team set up. To most fans, he is the natural heir to the Red Bull Salzburg assistant skipper because of his intelligent play. Against Zambia on Saturday, Kalungi who plies his trade in the United States with Railhawks will be tasked to keep the livewire Chipolopolo attackers led by skipper Christopher Katongo and Southampton’s Emmanuel Mayuka.
In an exclusive interview with Kawowo Sports, Kalungi talks about his dream of leading the Cranes to AFCON
and the World Cup, reveals his idol as former France defender Lillian Thurum, why he prefers donning the No.25 jersey and his best and worst moment in the game among others. Below are excerpts:
Name: Henry Kalungi Date of Birth: 25/11/1987 Current club: Carolina Railhawks (2012 to date). Previous clubs:Richmond kickers (2009-2012), Fredericksburg Gunners (2008) and Hampton roads piranhas (2007)
Shirt Number: I prefer 25. It has always been my shirt number growing up. And it’s because my birthday also falls on November 25.
Club supported while young: Internationally, it’s Arsenal because i enjoy the way they pass and move off the ball. Locally it’s KCC because it was the club that gave me an opportunity right out of Kibuli SS and always admired the club at my youth stage.
Best player played with: Luke Vercolone because he has unbelievable work rate and skills. He is also a role model off the field in the American community.
Toughest opponent: Dominic oduro he is very strong with a lot of pace on the ball.
Who inspired u to play football? I was inspired a lot by my big brother Ivan Kakembo. He always loved soccer. He was coaching me all the time and when I grew up, Mujib Kasule took over. He took care of me and he made sure i develop to play on the next level plus my Kibuli SS coach Abdallah Mubiru. He coached me a lot and changed my game a lot through my years at Kibuli.
Who is your idol? I always liked Lillian Thurum of France. He was a very strong defender and people always said he played kind of like me. On the national team, I can’t single out one person because I admire everyone. Each player is different in a certain way and I always watch everyone closely and learn from each one of them. It helps me to develop in other areas am weak at.
Best career moment so far: My worst moment in my career came when I helped Richmond kickers win a championship in 2009 during my rookie season.
Worst career moment so far: It was when we lost to Congo Brazzaville 3-1 in the African Cup of Nations and was my first qualification and we lost terribly.
Best Meal: Rice Posho and goats meat.
Music: I like RNB and Hip hop.
Comedian: Kevin hurt, he is very hilarious.
Your biggest dream: To help my country make it in the African Cup of Nations and World Cup.