Ian Ssendi Matovu is one of many Ugandan footballers virtually unknown living in the Diaspora. Born and bred in Kampala, Matovu left for America in 2011 after a relatively impressive mark in his own country of birth.

Prior to his departure, he had featured for Uganda’s Under 20 team that lost to Democratic Republic of Congo. The fast paced dribbling winger narrates his journey from Uganda to ‘Obamaland’;

In 2011, I got a chance with Bemidji State in USA after my earlier invitation for trials in Europe with Blackpool had hit a dead end.

This was after the paperwork to Europe fell through before the Bemidji State chance came calling.

Early Life:

Matovu grew up in Lungujja Rubaga division with his father, Henry Sendi, following the untimely death of the mother, Betty Zalwango.

Life was never easy without mum, but nevertheless we persevered as a family

He started his football journey with the Lungujja based Bulls Sports Club before joining the Good News Academy under coaches Willis Muwanguzi and Moses Mawa Moses in Natete.

Sendi is a powerful, pacy winger capable of dominating matches with his unique brand of wing wizardry.

By 2005, he trod the path back to Lungujja and joined Great Warriors FC.

I became captain for the team under coach Ivan until when I left the team in 2008. In 2006, I began playing for my house Kabalega in Makerere College School. I joined the school team when I was 17 in 2007. I played with team until when I finished S6 in 2008.

Come 2009, he joined a second division team,National sports Academy under the coaches; Oscar Matovu, Martin Musoke and Nduga Lawrence.

National U-20 Summon:

Matovu played for the Uganda U-20 team after an impressive performance that sought for the attention of then coach, Frank Video Anyau.

Although we lost, it was a great feeling to don the famous Black, Yellow and red stripes.

In 2011, he moved to Ohio to join Dayton Dutch Lions playing in the United Soccer League Pro or USL Pro.

From the Lions, he joined a Minnesota team Curtes Rouge, featuring for the side in for only 3 months before his dream transfer to FC Minneapolis.

After penning a new deal at Minneapolis last December, he has since enjoyed a great spell with the side scoring 26 goals in 16 matches.

On his senior national team dream, Matovu notes;

I have enjoyed playing in the Minnesota conference of the American Premier League. I turn my eyes now on the National team because I know I can help it succeed

His representative, Ronnie Santos believes with continued commitment and dedication, his client can only progress for the better.

Head coach at the club, Smith, runs out of superlatives for his increased maturity in the wide man and his blossoming personality;

His close control, tight turning circle and acute spatial awareness are sharper than ever and few defenders can get anywhere near him – on either flank

Matovu signs out;

If you keep on walking, no matter how long the road of football may be, someday you will arrive


Full Names: Ian Matovu Sendi.

Clan: Ngabi (Muganda)

Family – Parents: Betty Zalwango (Deceased) and Henry Sendi

Siblings: Joy Naiga and three brothers Brian, Arnold and Sam.

Date of Birth: 14th June 1990.

Education: Mirembe Infant School, Natete, Buloba Church of Uganda Boarding Primary School, Makerere College (O & A level)

Football Career: Bulls Sports Club & Great Warriors F.C (Lungujja), National Sports Academy (First & Second Division), U-20 National Team (Uganda Hippos), Bemidji State F.C, USA, Dayton Dutch Lions F.C, FC Minneapolis.

David Isabirye is a senior staff writer for Kawowo Sports where he covers most of the major events.

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