Jonathan "Gava Weele" Kanagwa with atrophy in New York Credit: Lake Grove New field
[/media-credit] Jonathan “Gava Weele” Kanagwa with the Potomac U-16 league trophy after defeating 87 other clubs Credit: Lake Grove New field

The name Kanagwa sounds aloud for many residents in Entebbe Division B.

Kanagwa is that steep hill above Basudde rise, named after a senior citizen Erisa Kanagwa Akiiki (now deceased) as you climb towards Entebbe State House from the Kiwafu side.

Jonathan “Gava Weele” Kanagwa  is one of the siblings  in the big extended family of 23 children.

Kanagwa junior was born to the late Erisa Kanagwa Akiiki and Monica Wekyali 16 years ago in the Lake Victoria peninsular confine of Entebbe Municipality, Uganda.

The hard working defensive midfielder left his home country for the United States of America (USA) just a year ago on a scholarship as he plays football as well.

In 2017, Kanagwa was spotted by America based football coach Frank Stagnitta at the dusty and barren Kiwafu play ground in Entebbe.

Stagnitta became interested in his playing style before he helped the youngster process his travel documentations before they materialized and he departed.

He narrates the journey;

It was like any other ordinary day when we were playing a friendly match against Katale at the Kiwafu play ground in Entebbe. A white man (Frank Stagnitta) who was watching the game was interested in the way I was playing. After the friendly match, he asked me if I would love to join them in the US and offer me a scholarship. Who would reject such an opportunity?

[/media-credit] Jonathan Kanagwa (left) with the Lake Grove New field United head coach Frank Stagnitta. It is Stagnitta who scouted the talent of the youngster in Uganda Credit: Lake Grove New field
[/media-credit] Jonathan Kanagwa (right) takes on an opponent during the Eastern Conference encounter Credit: Lake Grove New field

The 16 year old is now a Grade 10 student at Savior New American School in New York City as he also features at Lake Grove New field United Football Club, one of the clubs in the Eastern New York State League, Region 1.

Previously, he had been a student at Boston High School, Mpala before switching allegiance for greener pastures.

He shares his experience with the switch from Uganda to America;

I am getting used to everything in the U.S. I have settled in quite well. When I had just left last year, I lost my father. I had to return home for burial. It was a difficult moment for me and the family members. For the life in the U.S, I am getting used to the food, weather, I have made friends and I enjoy the game when playing with my team.

[/media-credit] Kanagwa (right) dribbles the ball Credit: Lake Grove New field

Kanagwa’s dreams:

Like many sportsmen, footballers in particular, Kanagwa harbours big dreams.

He wishes to play for Uganda underage teams, the senior team, play in the Major League Soccer league and at one moment play professional football in Spain.

Like wonder therefore, two of his international role models Xavi Hernandez and Sergio Busquets are Spanish with the third, Lionel Messi, a darling at the reigning Spanish La Liga champions Barcelona.

Locally, he admires Uganda Cranes anchormen Aucho Khalid and Hassan Wasswa Mawanda.

To achieve his dreams and the follow the bold foot marks for many of his role models, Kanagwa has to keep focused with hard work, commitment and determination.

[/media-credit] Kanagwa tackles during the match. He has so far won two championships and scored 9 goals in total Credit: Lake Grove New field


  • Full Names: Jonathan Kanagwa
  • Nick Names: Gava Weele (literally meaning well blessed)
  • Date of Birth: 18th February 2002
  • Education: Lake Victoria Primary School, Entebbe (Primary), Boston High School, Mpala (O-Level), Savior New American School, New York City (Currently in Grade 10)
  • Football career: Entebbe Young Academy, Entebbe Leopards F.C, Lweza U-17, Currently at Lake Grove New Field United featuring in the Eastern NewYork State League, Region 1
  • Strong Foot: Left
  • Honours: Winner Eastern Conference Cup 2018, Winner Potomac U-16 league championship 2018
  • Role Models: Lionel Messi, Sergio Busquets, Xavi Hernandez, Hassan Wasswa Mawanda, Aucho Khalid
  • Best Dish: Rice and Beans with fresh water.

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

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1 Comment

  1. OMG, am totally excited to see such a young talent sprinkling miracles like kanagwa jonathan am his number one fun. Congratulations!
    And great thanks to Isabirye David for bringing out al this amazing documentation o the giant young star.

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