Its is a sunny Tuesday morning. Hundreds of kids ranging from 6 to 17 years are divided into different groups as their parents and guardians keep a close eye.
A Samona decorated sound truck with big music speakers is playing slow music as the coaches are going about their drills and the growing number of spectators and passerby’s are anxiously awaiting to see the next move in the neighborhood.
All is happening at the Ssendi’s sports grounds in Kabowa as sports reporters from as many media houses are taking record of the momentous event as Uganda Cranes footballer, Michael Sula Mutyaba, on loan from T.P Mazembe is launching his very own Kent Football Academy.
“I have played football in Europe at academies of Manchester United and Fulham, senior side of Yoevil, Sudan’s El-Merrierk and T.P Mazembe. I know football is a golden job once you succedd. I would wish these youngsters become a success and they earn millions from their sweat.’ the soft spoken Mutyaba opens up.
Kent Football Academy is one of the millions of sports and football academies in the world.What goes on in my mind is that hot debate about the genuine and ‘fake’ academies that have most times turned into child slavery and exploitation that goes around.
But my doubts and fears are quickly erased when i hear the day’s M.C announcing the individuals, parents, tycoons and the endless list of schools that have come up to support the academy by offering bursaries to the youngsters.
Mutyaba himself the director then comes up to demonstrate how his skills have helped him traverse the world earning in dollars than local currency. The passion, zeal and commitment he shows how to position oneself, dribble, shoot, pass and control the ball makes me now feel at home and erase the further fears.
At Kent Football Academy, every player’s diet will be taken keen care of. Mutyaba plans to introduce special concentrates (not drugs) to each player to help build muscles as the coaches fine tune their skills and agility levels.
“Good food and great physical bodies make wonderful footballers.Professional football requires healthy bodies and minds”, he preaches.
He reflects back how being some and short height-ed has been a disadvantage to his otherwise glittering career.
“When I was in Europe, I realized, my height and size was a disadvantage to my professional career. Therefore, I will put these players under a special diet, training and expose them to various competitions like the 2014 Tivoli, Gothia and Norway Cups”, he says of his future plan for Kent Football Academy.
Ssali handles the coaching duties with Simon Ddungu, Muhamed Ssembatya, Juilus Lubega, Patrick Odiambo and Godfrey Ssebyala among others.
Mutyaba himself reserves special praise for Former FUFA President Lawrence Mulindwa for his fatherly gesture towards him.
Mulindwa is the patron of the project and Kent, a white philanthropist in Europe is the president.
He thanks all those who have offered the material, cash and moral support. ” I thank Mr Mulindwa Lawrence for being my father (he built me a house, paid my fees and bought me my first car), Godfrey Ssebyala, Bagimu Investments, Trinity Children’s Center, Refaso Enterprises, Paul Ssenfuma of Najja High School, the parents of the children in the academy and all the media groups [Ssubi fm, CBS radio, UBC T.V , Bukedde TV, TOP Tv, Community radio, Beat, Impact, Capital, Kingdom, Juice and all those am i yet to visit] for the work done”, he says.
Future Aspirations of the Academy:
Kent like many academies elsewhere habours lots and loads of expectations. At the moment, coaches are running around the clock to recruit 100 talented boys who will be fully accommodated at the academy’s residential apartments, with home like facilities and those in schools will have a chance to continue with their task.
Later in 2014 (June and July), the academy plans to make european tours with the annual Norway, Tivoli and Gothia cups forthcoming.
For now, i can not wait to see as i visit for the next day’s training session at Ssendi’s Kabowa based dry patched sports grounds.
Owing to the academy’s motto: “Lets go, God is my way”, i am now contented Kent is a genuine project.