Kirinya-Jinja SSS goalkeeper Tom Ikara has dedicated his player of the month award to his goalkeeping coach Hannington Kalyesubula.
The 19 -year-old beat competition from six other nominees including Villa Oromchan, Derrick Walulya [Bul], his head coach Abbey Bogere, Kirinya-Jinja SSS the team, Jinja SSS the school and Rubuga Youth FC to win the inaugural Busoga Sports Press Association Sports Personality of the month on Tuesday.
Ikara who received his first ever call up to the national team last month garnered 16 votes, five more than the next person thanks to his three clean sheets kept in April.
“I feel so good and happy for this achievement,” Ikara said. “I think it has been a wonderful season for me considering the number of goals I have conceded.
“But I wouldn’t be recognized if it wasn’t for coach Kalyesubula. He has done a great job guiding and encouraging me. He showed me the way forward and always told me I can improve. He is the reason I was called up to the national team. I dedicate this award to him and my mum for always encouraging me.”
Ikara is not new to scooping accolades. Last season in the FUFA Big League, the shot-stopper picked up the Best Goalkeeper award after a spectacular season that saw him keep 13 clean sheets as he helped Kirinya-Jinja SSS earn promotion to the Uganda Premier League.
He started the current campaign with 14 clean sheets as the target, and with two games to season end, has 12 in his bag.
While Ikara is confident the target will be achieved, his team Kirinya are left with two tricky fixtures.
The side faces Lweza their relegation rivals on Tuesday at Wankulukuku Stadium, with both sides needing nothing but three points, before meeting Proline- fifth in the scoring charts in the league- in their last game.
Proline are one of the best attacking sides in the league, but Ikara is adamant the target will be achieved.
He said: “My target was and still is to end this season with 14 clean sheets. So far I have 12. I’m confident I will achieve my target because I’m working so hard to achieve it and I trust my defense and the entire team. They are focused individuals and I’m proud of them.
“Keeping the clean sheet is not just good for me but for the entire team because we are fighting relegation. This is why we are going to fight as a team to the final whistle to achieve this.”