“I sat with Benni (McCathy) and we discussed the need for a left-footed playmaker & winger that could add something unique going forward. There were a few options for us in the market, but once Benni saw Kateregga (Allan) play he basically just simply said ‘this is the one.” Those were the words of Cape Town City owner John Comitis early this week.
Excuse me for getting carried away but the news of Allan ‘Dancing Rasta’ Kateregga signing for Premier Soccer League side Cape Town City made my week. To some, he is just another Ugandan on a ceremonial football picnic to the Rainbow Nation, before he returns home with no colour from the Rainbow.
I beg to differ. After David Obua at Kaiser Chiefs, and now Denis Onyango at Mamelodi Sundowns, the Dancing Rasta can break dance on the same Dance Floor of Marble elusive to those from the Pearl of Africa.
His temperament conspired against making an impact in the Kenya Premier League (KPL). His brawl with AFC Leopards Coach left a bad taste and a loan move to KCCA FC mid last year was made inevitable. A host of my Kenyan colleagues as such, write him off, a conclusion I find half-baked.
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Allan Kateraga’s gift, and personality, always lives a window open to redemption. Kenya and Uganda the only football destinations he knows share a likeness – coaches obsessed with “We must win” and blind to dust off the rough edges of players into potential winners. Many like him have dropped to their knees.
While the debate whether Kateregga will shine in the PSL or not was happening on a popular WhatsApp group of African football journalists and administrators, another Kenyan brother retaliated that the midfielder won’t make it because he plays for the fans.
I stand to be corrected but isn’t football a show for the fans? Of course, a good show must climax with a good ending and he has not been shy to demonstrate that at KCCA FC. The PSL fabric and its passionate fans pay match day tickets to get entertained, Kateregga will repay their applause in the terraces as he continues to build his star.
When Kateregga left the KPL where it was a taboo to play for the fans, he joined KCCA FC in the Uganda Premier League, playing for a manager in Mike Mutebi who encourages his team to listen to the fans call for beauty even in the midst of at-times beast football purposely to stop the yellow brigade at The StarTimes Stadium.
Apart from encouraging his team to play good football, which is popularly termed as ‘Our Way’ in Uganda, Mutebi is a big fan of exceptional talents. Kateregga was as such, a good catch, to the surprise of many doomsayers.
I had the privilege to work with him during his stay at KCCA FC and the dedication I saw will betray the skepticism that has a blanket over his PSL move. His ability, and work rate, always dwarfed his peers in the Ugandan league
With his preferred position being attacking midfield, Mutebi switched Kateregga to the wing, deployed him as a wingback in the 3-5-2 formation. I don’t remember him struggle there. He actually looked a natural fit in the newfound position than elsewhere.
There is no doubt that Kateregga still has a lot to learn from a man who has seen it all, especially at the big stage and should be able to transform the Ugandan into a much better attacking monster than he is now. That shouldn’t be a problem because, in Kateregga, there is a workaholic.
Kateregga treated KCCA FC fans with his aptitude to beat opponents with ease, tantalising crosses, and holding onto that ball until a teammate gets in a good position to receive it. Fans from time to time cheered those audacious passes and his hungry eye for goal will light many hearts, The PSL awaits with open arms.
Benni McCarthy saw it early, and who to decline the great man’s nod? I cant dare.